Did you know the word prejudice means “prejudging” or “making an estimate of others without knowing the facts?” I came across an article by Billy Graham about this topic and thought I would share some of his insight into this topic. I found this challenging and encouraging.
Graham says this about prejudice:
Prejudice stalks many countries. At times it is prejudice against a racial or religious minority within its boundaries. At times it is prejudice against people from other nations. At times it was prejudice or resentment against those who were wealthier or those who were poorer than the average. But prejudice is a universal problem. Why? One reason is because prejudice has its roots in pride-and pride is at the heart of sin. Just as sin is universal, so prejudice is universal as long as our hearts are untouched by God’s retreating power.
Prejudice is a mark of weakness, not strength; it is a tool of the bigot, but never a device of the true Christian. One of our great problems in this complex age continues to grow since modern man has forsaken the pathway of Christian mercy and understanding-and has chosen to walk the road of intolerance and intrigue.
All of us have personal biases and prejudices. Despite our improved educational system, our prejudices have grown in the past few years-so we can conclude that education is not the cure for all prejudice.
There is only one way we can get rid of prejudice: by the process of spiritual rebirth through Jesus Christ. Only then do we discover Gods love for all humanity, and only then will we begin to look at others through the eyes of God and see them as He sees them. Only then does Gods love begin to take root in our hearts, pushing out the hate and indifference and selfishness that have resided there. In myself I do not have the capacity to love others as I should, but “the fruit of the Spirit is love.” Yes, Christ can give us a love for others we would never have otherwise, “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5).
Billy Graham has a way of describing this that makes sense. Left to ourselves we will never love other people as God intended. We are quick to judge or at least make conclusions about someone before we get to know them. When our hearts start to transform as a result of following Jesus, we begin to think and see differently. Our actions follow and we begin to break the old patterns of prejudice, selfishness and resentment.
Jesus has this to say about this topic: ” Don’t judge other people, or you will be judged. You will be judged in the same way that you judge others, and the amount you give to others will be given to you.” He goes on to say this: “why do you notice the little piece of dust in your friends eye, but you don’t notice the big piece of wood in your own eye? How can you say to your friend, ‘let me take that little piece of dust out of your eye’? Look at yourself! You still have that big piece of wood in your own eye. You hypocrite! First, take the wood out of your own eye. Then you will se clearly to take the dust out of your friends eye.”
So it’s important to take a closer look at ourselves and work on our own issues before trying to work on someone else or prejudge someone else. It really starts with our own heart being set right before we can try to reach others. When our hearts are right we see others completely different and therefore how we go about helping others is completely different.