Posted: April 1st, 2013 | Blog | 3 Comments

The problem of prejudice is real. Sadly even heroes of the faith like Peter have been guilty of it. Defined as “preconceived opinion(s) that causes one to dislike, be hostile to or behave unjustly toward others.”  

hand discriminating black goldfishWe continue to find it along racial lines, social standing, religious backgrounds , even among genders, ages and sexual orientation.  All too often even Christians are guilty of prejudice.

“When Cephas (Peter),  came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles.” Galatians 2:11-12a

Paul  saw prejudice as sin, regardless of who was guilty of it. A tell tale sign of prejudice is who you are eating or not eating with.

“But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.” Galatians 2:12

Prejudice is about drawing back and separating oneself from people who may not belong to our group or clique.  This tendency is generally rooted in fear and insecurity. It eventually morphs into pride that says, “These people don’t belong to our group.”

Whether it’s racial prejudice, social cliques, the message is “You don’t deserve us.” But the worst case is religious prejudice that declares, “You are too dirty, too far gone and we’re too holy and pure for you.”

We alienate if not isolate sinners because of our religious prejudices. This is a vicious sin that prevents people from receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. Galatians 2:13

What empowers prejudice is hypocrisy. The claim of having a higher standard of being, belief or behavior. Basically a pretense and a deceptive view of one’s race, relations, religion, or recognition. The danger with hypocrisy is it leads others astray and causes division rather than promoting love and unity.

“When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel,…” Galatians 2:14a

Prejudice is always visible in the way one acts towards others. It squelches the Gospel. And Christians (like Peter) can be guilty of it. Actually, it is just pride in one of it’s ugliest and cheapest forms.

I said to Cephas in front of them all, ‘You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?’” Galatians 2:14

There is no way around prejudice other than to violently confront it for what it is, just as Paul did. It is a pagan practice that is not the way of a disciple of Christ.  The first person to confront is yourself. Frankly we are all guilty of prejudice at various levels.

Then…

“We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Galatians 2:15a

Prejudice will hinder us from helping people become followers of Christ. Here’s what to do when you see it in your own life:

Acknowledge that we are not any more special than others, not by our race, background or achievements rather by simply trusting in the finished work of Christ that is still working in us. We are all works in progress – unfinished business in a journey of faith with our God.

As you search your heart, simply ask God to expose any prejudice and hypocrisy in your life. Repent, turn away and then ask Him to make you see that each person is an amazing creation made by Him.

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  • http://Website red Dohello

    you are blessed for having that GOD revelation of prejudices, it helps to us CHRIStians to be more aware of our behaviors and praise GOD for his Love and Grace…blessings!

  • http://Website Daniel Herrera Jr.

    Great blog. “We are all unfinished business in our journey of faith”–> this struck me.. I realized Peter acted this way towards the Gentiles, even after being filled with The Holy Spirit, evangelizing and performing miracles leading thousands to Christ.

    I agree, pride and prejudice are serious character issues that plague most Christians, which we must all guard our hearts with.

    It is not the many ministry we are involved in or position we hold in church but how much love we show to people. What matters most is how we know and live out the Truth. I can only thank the Holy Spirit for His sanctifying work in our lives.

  • http://Website June Perera

    Enjoyed reading your “Pride and Prejudice” very much. As a child, I remember my Christian mother treating every child as God’s creation and not identifying any child with a color label. How wonderful it is be know that we are in the same human boat with the same vulnerabilities–God created us to love Him with all our heart our neighbor as we love ourselves.

    We are all born with a sinful nature and until we truly repent for our sin and die daily we will lose the battle against our flesh. God gives to everyone that which he posesses. We do best when we are thankful for what God has given us, serve others with what God has freely given to us and know that nothing we posess will put us in heaven nor make us better than any other person on the face of this earth. “Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

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