A recent sermon on James 2 posed the following question: What prejudices do we Christians harbor in our hearts? It is easy for us to say that we aren’t prejudiced, but how does that look in practice? We can tell about our prejudices if we stop to analyze what we say about people when they aren’t around. What do we think about the political positions of others? How do we respond to certain remarks or a worship style that makes us uncomfortable?
As I was pondering this, I came across two instances where I am prejudiced. First, regarding women who wear the modern Islamic head covering – especially when they’re behind the wheel of a car. I tell myself that it’s because their head covering closes off their peripheral vision and makes it dangerous for other drivers. But is that all? Am I not looking down on them because I feel I’m better than them?
Second, are people on both sides of the political spectrum who aren’t “enlightened” enough to have a moderate, eclectic political position like I do: liberals are too caught up in their pro-government and elitist views and that they want to take away my liberty; conservatives have blindly swallowed the idea that capitalism is God’s gift to mankind and that government should only impose restrictions that enforce Christian morals for everyone, including pagans. I am once more looking down on these people rather than loving them, thinking I am better than them.
James has a few choice words about this: “But if you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:9 — HCSB) Ouch! That one cuts both ways: favoritism and despising others. I am working on this, especially after having read an excellent article by David Gushee on human dignity. Ask me about it sometime.
What are your prejudices? Be honest and bring them to God, remembering that He loves all people alike: Christian, Muslim, pagan, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, male and female.