In view of a recent report of children calling their own classmates names, intending to put a derogatory slant on a particular ethnic group or other, I came upon the Epistle of James and found great enlightenment in his teaching concerning prejudices of every sort.
In the Old Testament Almighty God was exclusive in admitting those who could enter into the congregation of the Tabernacle; who could offer sacrifices; who could serve in the ministry.
He allowed no Moabite to come into the congregation because of how they had treated the Israelis when they were passing through the wilderness. (However, Ruth was a Moabitess and and ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ!). Also, people with certain diseases were not to be admitted into the congregation because the Lord God was preparing for Himself a people whom He would call unto Himself and from whom the Messiah would proceed and so Our GOD acted exclusively in many situations concerning hedonistic nations, the idolaters, the perverted nations and the many “ites” whom the Lord enabled Israel to overcome and destroy in their trek to the promised land.
BUT then….Jesus !! Jesus came! and took all of that rejection, that prejudice, those offenses and those offended, those diseases, those perverted sins of mankind….from the beginning of creation until eternity…He took them upon Himself on the Cross
Eph. 2 14 explains it very well. “For He is Himself, our Peace, our bond of unity and harmony. He has made both Jew and Gentile one body and has broken down that wall of prejudice and partition….abolished it; destroyed it…that wall of hostility that divides us, by abolishing in His own crucified flesh the enmity caused by the Law with its decrees and ordinances….those He annulled…thus reconciling us to GOD and us to one another….killing off the mutual enmity among us….forever.”
So now! How must we conduct ourselves concerning the nations of the world that are living among us, now? So how must we conduct ourselves toward and What must we teach our children, our students, our neighbors’ kids, our young kinfolk?
So James! What is he telling us in chapter 2 of his book? He says in 2:1, “My brethren, pay no servile regard, no prejudice, no partiality….do not practice the faith in the LORD JESUS CHRIST with snobbery!…whether it be a superior attitude toward the poor and indigent, or the foreigner or alien in our midst…who do we think we are? What do we have that Christ did not give us? Do noy discriminate among yourselves and become critics and judges with wrong motives. Do not humiliate, insult and dishonor one group whom the Lord God has created to be on this earth and show contempt…..But….you shall love your neighbor as yourself as Jesus demonstrated in His parable of the Good Samaritan. And as the Holy Spirit showed Peter when he was asleep on the roof awaiting his supper and the Lord showed him a sheet from Heaven with all types of creatures within. And Peter understood that WHAT GOD HAS CLEANSESD DO NOT CALL UNCLEAN or humiliate or mock.
James concludes with…”to him who shows no mercy, the judgment will be merciless. But Mercy, full of joyful confidence and trust, exults over judgment!
Deliver us from a judgmental spirit, prejudice, faulty opinions and snobbery, Dear Lord, we pray.