Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Litmus Test for Prejudice

Part 4 of this week's series ...

How do you know if you are really prejudiced against a group of people?

Our pastor, Pete Hise at Quest Community Church in Lexington, Kentucky, offered us this litmus test, and when I took it, I knew it was hands-down the best prejudice barometer.

Parents: Ask yourselves, "If my son or daughter brought home a person from this particular group and said they were going to get married, how would I feel?"

When I posed the question with Neil in mind, I came up with surprising results.

I discovered that I felt no prejudice against the usual groups -- people of other races. (I was relieved about that!)

I'd be okay with people from other Christian denominations, but I would worry if Neil brought home a girl from another faith, like Buddhism. The only reason is that I feel so strongly that Jesus is the Son of God and that they should be on the same page.

I'd be fine with a girl with tattoos and piercings, but I wouldn't be okay with a girl who actively deals drugs on street corners -- or a lifestyle that hurts other people.

I discovered, though, that I would struggle against a girl whose family might be like those families my parents helped in The Salvation Army. This really bothered me. It's an uncomfortable truth for me to face and for which I must repent.

See how this test works? It's a simple question but has very clear-cut, profound results. Personally, I was fascinated by the emotions I felt, or did not feel, as I examined each group of people.

Ask yourself ... Who are your "Others?"

Do you harbor ill will against a race, a nationality, a socio-economic group, a group defined by what they wear or how they express themselves? If that person came to your church, how would you react? Would you treat them the same way you might treat a favorite celebrity? Would you even notice them?

Guess what: If you love Jesus -- really love Jesus -- you're going to have to examine this, not only for this life but for the life to come.

Tune in for the last part of the story. You'll be surprised at where this all leads.

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