Summary: This message deals with a subject that is often controversial, prejudice. As Christ followers we are to demonstrate love to all without exception.
*************************************************************************************Getting Through the Tough Stuff
Tomorrow we as a country recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Day. King had a dream that was grounded in the Word of God that all people and ethnic groups would be treated equally.
Today I want to talk about a subject that is often controversial – prejudice.
There are all kinds of prejudices:
Socio economic prejudices
The dictionary defines prejudice: a noun. 1. An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts. 2. Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion (class or culture).
Prejudice goes beyond disagreeing with the views of others. Prejudice often progresses into hatred, bitterness and violence. Prejudice can flow both ways. As Christ followers we are to demonstrate love to all without exception.
Dr. Charles Swindall’s book, “Getting Through the Tough Stuff”, was used as the theme for this message. There are Biblical truths to help us get through the tough stuff of prejudice. This morning I want to suggest three truths to help us live a life free of prejudice.
I. Practice the Golden Rule
The first truth is the principle of love found in Luke 6:31. It is a basic rule to help us live beyond prejudice and to love and treat others as we would have others treat us. “Do for others as you would like them to do for you.”
We are not to treat anyone as “Second Class Citizens.” James 2:1-4: We are not to look down on people with limited financial means. The Body of Christ is to reach out in love and compassion to all who are in need. We are not to enable people who refuse to work with handouts, but for people in legitimate need we are to show compassion. We are not to show favoritism to the wealthy. All are to be treated fairly in the Body of Christ. The Cross of Jesus is a great leveler – rich or poor, all are equal and welcome in His sight.
In Luke 10 an expert in religious law asked Jesus what he needed to do to receive eternal life. Jesus asked the man a question: “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?
The man answered: “’You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:25-27
Jesus told the man he was right and then added, “Do this and you will live.” “The man wanted to justify his actions so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor.’” He was hoping that Jesus would tell him than he was to love his fellow Jew, but Jesus gave a different answer by telling the story of the Good Samaritan.
Luke 10:30-37 Jesus said that a Jewish Priest and the Levite, a Temple associate, didn’t want to contaminate their religious life by helping a Jewish man who had been robbed and left bleeding by side of the road. They prejudged the man as not worthy of their help. It was a despised Samaritan who came to the aid of the wounded Jew.
Jesus turned to the expert in law and asked him, “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus told the man to go and do the same.
The early history of the Free Methodist church was one of ministering to the poor. “Free” in Free Methodist meant free pews. The Methodist Episcopal Church in 1860 rented pews so only the wealthy could sit inside the church buildings. “Free” also meant freedom from slavery. No Christian should own a slave. “Free” meant freedom in worship with freedom to preach the good news of the Gospel without compromise.
If we all practice the “Golden Rule” taught by Jesus we would love and accept all who are part of other cultures and socio-economic status. Practicing the “Golden Rule” will help us get through the tough stuff of prejudice.
Another truth we should practice is the truth that all people are created equal.
II. All People are Created Equal
Jesus brought a whole new level of ethnic morality when He entered human history. During Old Testament times women were treated as second class citizens. Women were at the mercy of men.
Jesus changed the way people looked at the role of women. Jesus broke all kinds of cultural barriers when he spoke to a woman in Samaria by the well near the city of Sychar. The woman came to the well at noon time because of her life style. She was shunned by other women so she came to draw water when other women were still at home. This woman didn’t have a good reputation in the community because she has moved from one man to another. Jesus didn’t focus on her past when he talked to her, he focused on the present. Jesus dared to talk to a Samaritan who according to Jews was the scum of the earth. He dared to talk to a woman. Macho men did not talk to women in public. He also dared to talk to an unrighteous woman which was against Jewish law for a Rabbi to speak alone to a woman.