Opinions are Prejudiced

LifeLink Devotional

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Still Stuck.

The point Jesus makes in John 7:24 about prejudice is not one we can move away from too quickly. Yesterday we were challenged to do some personal evaluation of our own prejudices. I hope it was productive time for you as you considered how first impressions can cause us to form judgments about entire groups of people.

Another aspect of prejudice we must consider is this: we tend to form adverse opinions about people based on insufficient knowledge of them and their circumstances.

Here’s a simple example. How many times do we get frustrated with the driver of the vehicle in front of us? They may be going too slow, swerving, or not using a turn signal, and we determine at that instant that they are a terrible driver or they must be on their phone. Men display the prejudice of categories by calling the driver a woman. We all get frustrated because our needs and preferences are honored above an understanding of their circumstances. We make a judgment about more than just their driving ability; we form an opinion of who they are as a person based on insufficient knowledge of who they are.

Let me state something that we have all probably heard before in one form or another. We have no right to make a judgment about another person unless we have intimate personal experience with that person that validates the judgment. In other words, don’t form an opinion about anyone until you have walked a mile in their shoes. You may have an opinion based on limited contact with someone, but it is only an opinion. When did opinions get elevated to equality with truth? Our opinions must be subject to change. If they aren’t, then we are declaring opinions to be truth. When we form opinions about people, we must be willing to be wrong. Otherwise we are guilty of the sin of prejudice.

In 1970, singer and songwriter Joe South released a hit song entitled “Walk a Mile In My Shoes.” Here are the lyrics.

If I could be you, if you could be me
For just one hour
If we could find a way to get inside
Each other’s mind

If you could see you through my eyes
Instead of your ego
I believe you’d be, I believe you’d be surprised to see
That you’ve been blind

Now there are people on reservations
And out in the ghetto
And, brother, there, but for the grace of God
Go you and I

If I only had the wings
Of a little angel
Don’t you know I’d fly to the top of a mountain
And then I’d cry, cry, cry?

Walk a mile in my shoes
Walk a mile in my shoes
Yeah, before you abuse, criticize, and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes

Before you abuse, criticize, and accuse, get to know the person. Find out what makes them tick. Imagine how liberating it would be to not have to walk around carrying the weight of so many opinions about people. Discover the freedom of realizing the biggest burden you carry is the elevated opinion you have of yourself that cause you to have adverse opinions of others.

Pastor John

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