Red and Yellow, Black and White….

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 2:08 PM

Prejudice: an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge. Webster’s Dictionary

One of the great influences in my life if not the greatest growing up was my father. He taught me many valuable lessons though he rarely sat down and had a big meeting that was not his style. He taught me most effectively by his life.

One thing he taught me was to see past color or social economic status and to respect all people. He grew up in inner city Dallas which is a far different place than it was 65 years ago and even a different place than it was when I was a child growing up.

His father owned property near the State Fair and the Cotton Bowl a stadium near downtown Dallas. On game days we would park cars on that land. I loved to go down and be a part of that event because it normally meant something I enjoyed was going on downtown. In those days Southern Methodist University played its games at the Cotton Bowl.

After parking cars me and a friend from the neighborhood would often go to the games. For the sake of the story you need to know the little boy was African American. So off two 10 year olds would go walking like best buddies, different colors, living in different worlds most of the time but having fun eating popcorn sitting in the end zone of a SMU football game. We thought nothing of it and my father allowed it without any reservations.

My father was a firm believer in civil rights and impressed that upon me at an early age. This came in handy as I grew up and started working for him all over the city moving furniture. In that job I walked into some of the finest homes in Dallas. In that job I also ran across people of all different types of faith and lifestyles. It taught me diversity before the word became popular.

I have found prejudice in all kinds of places during my life and one of the worst places I have found it has been in the local church. Though we hide behind our smiles, nice clothes, Bibles and clean churches it comes clear in conversations especially when people speak to your outside of church in comfortable settings.

Prejudice shows up in many places and in many ways as well. It is not just about color, no not at all. For many it’s about economic status, for others it is about nationalities, some are prejudice against ex-cons, others are prejudice against certain denominations or for some it is about how smart you are.

Prejudice is a sin and you can tell it is by how much war and turmoil is set off by simple prejudice. Least you think I am saying there is no prejudice in my heart as I examine it I have found many I am sad to say. In my disappointment I have even found prejudice in those who are fighting against prejudices. One side claims to be unjustly judged and in turn unjustly judges another and the beat goes on.

As we honestly look at ourselves we can see where our prejudice lie and can prayerfully deal with them and ask God to clear that sin from our heart. Here is a point where I love Jesus most of all. In all of creation for all time Jesus would be the one person who held no prejudice thoughts, you can see it in his actions:

  • Goes out of his way to speak to a divorced, Samaritan woman.
  • Stays up late teaching a Pharisee.
  • Allows a sinful woman to anoint him with oil.
  • Forgives a woman caught in the act of adultery.
  • Was always about healing the disabled, the blind, the sick, and the lame.

That is just a small list and the New Testament is filled with more but this is where I will make my final point. We see that Jesus loves all people not by the church he attended or by the words that he spoke. No we see it best by the actions that he took. Today let us look into our hearts, examine our actions and seek to rid ourselves of prejudice by seeing the example of Christ.

Two bonus points to think of when dealing with our prejudice:

  • Take a good look at yourself, when you see yourself humbly. You will see that there is plenty to work on at home without worrying about others.
  • Remember your actions and words will teach your children and eventually their children. What legacy do you wish to leave?

Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-6, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit thought the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Prayer: Dear Lord of all, help us to see when and where our prejudice lies, helps us to seek forgiveness for that sin and to seek your Spirits help in ceasing the action. May the world see your love through our actions of love for all; we ask these things in the name of the son Jesus Christ, Amen.

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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