How to Overcome the Sin of Prejudice
“You will be doing the right thing if you obey the law of the Kingdom, which is found in the scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ But if you treat people according to their outward appearance, you are guilty of sin, and the Law condemns you as a lawbreaker.” (James 2:8-9 GNB)
Prejudice is a serious sin. It’s not some infraction that God winks at. To call it anything but sin would be against what the Bible teaches: “You will be doing the right thing if you obey the law of the Kingdom, which is found in the scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ But if you treat people according to their outward appearance, you are guilty of sin, and the Law condemns you as a lawbreaker” (James 2:8-9 GNB).
That's pretty clear. But as I've traveled around the world, I've come to the conclusion that prejudice, particularly racial prejudice, may be the world's most prevalent sin. No matter where you go in the world, somebody doesn't like somebody else. You find it everywhere. And though it plays out in countless ways in society, many people would deny that they have any prejudice toward others.
To move toward racial reconciliation, we have to admit and confess our prejudices. Why? Because racism is a sin problem, not a skin problem. This is not some minor issue to God. It's at the heart of the Gospel.
Like many people, you may have been raised to mistrust or stay away from what’s different. You probably feel most comfortable with people like you. That's human nature.
But we must still learn to see people the way God does. How do you learn to see everybody who comes into your life the way God does? "The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV). You've got to look at the heart.
If you want to know someone’s heart, then you’ve got to go past pleasantries and shallow conversations. You need to get to know them. You need to ask questions and be a good listener. You need to be empathetic and full of grace.
Start with your heart. Confess the sin of prejudice. Then, ask God for his help to see people as he sees them and to use you to help reconcile people to each other and, most importantly, to him.
Talk It Over
What is your reaction when people start a conversation about race? What do you think is the first thing God wants you to do when people share their experiences with prejudice?
To truly learn something, you need to actively practice it. What are some ways you can practice racial reconciliation this week?
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This devotional © 2020 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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