Monday, October 12, 2020
When I got to the end of the sermon yesterday at church, I thought I would be able to move on. But here I am, parked on a truth that is still impacting me. No matter how many times I have tried to move forward into the next section of verses, the wheels of my mind just slip.
I’m stuck on what Jesus said about prejudice.
John 7:24 “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
I’m stuck contemplating questions about judging people by appearances. What is right judgment? What kind of judgments were the people making about Jesus? What needed to change in their thinking to make right judgments? Could I be guilty of prejudice?
Prejudice is defined in several dictionaries as three specific attitudes:
- a preconceived judgment or opinion;
- an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge;
- an irrational attitude of hostility.
Definition number one is the fatal flaw of first impressions universally applied. We all do it. We create mental compartments designed to help us organize various groups of people. We form an opinion of a certain type of person based on one experience with someone, and then we put everyone like them into the same compartment. Our judgment is based on nothing more than external appearance. This is prejudice.
Jesus said, ”You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.” (John 8:15) Prejudice is inexcusable and unacceptable in Christ’s Kingdom. Yet we justify it in our personal kingdoms. We claim we need to make judgments about people for personal protection. We must guard what is ours from those who would take it. We must protect principles of truth from those who seek to undermine and destroy them. We must make judgments about people so we can remain safe.
There is an element of truth in our justifications, but there is no Godly basis for creating compartments into which we categorize people based on appearances. It is sin to universally apply judgment to a group of people simply because they have the appearance of one person who hurt you. Again, prejudice is inexcusable and unacceptable in Christ’s Kingdom.
Please take some time today and contemplate the level of prejudice that exists in your heart. Are we guilty of having a preconceived judgment about people based on the color of their skin, their political affiliation, their income level, their homeless status, their weight, or countless other labels we place on them so we can place them in the proper category and feel safe?