Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, [out beyond shame and fear] there is a field. I’ll meet you there. Rumi
For far too much of her history the church has allowed a prejudicial culture to take root and cause harm. I believe God’s correction and our repentance is desperately needed. But what does this look like and what are the actions that we should take? I don’t have many answers but I maintain that if we, individually, do the hard work, it will translate to change in the church and society.
This requires deep, prayerful thought and honest consideration about issues that, unless we’ve experienced prejudicial treatment, probably are not front and center for us on a regular basis.
So, start with these insightful questions:
- What is it that you think about first when you see a person of another culture, race or class?
- Are there some immediate biases that rise to the top?
- What are the surface idols that you can easily identify? [image idolatry, racial/cultural idolatry, family idolatry??]
If you conclude that, “my life only has meaning and I only feel valued when my race, culture or class [social position] is elevated”…you have yourself an IDOL. If this is true, then what we’re really saying is that, POWER is our root, our deep IDOL and this idol left unchecked will be our destruction.
SO HOW DO WE COMBAT THIS PROPENSITY, THIS NATURAL INCLINATION TOWARD A PRIDEFUL ELEVATION OF OUR RACE, OUR CULTURE OR CLASS?
Breaking it all down, our ability to lead with HUMILITY, will dismantle the power of our prejudices.
Here are four actionable steps to live in humility and tear down the strongholds of prejudice and power!
- LOVE – To love others as God loves us means relationship. It is easy to make assumptions and judgements when we don’t sit across the table from someone…break bread and it’s a different story. Diversify your conversations and watch your heart shift and soften toward those you’ve seen in an unbecoming light.By the way, love yourself too. You have inherent value. Develop a correct understanding of who you are and you’ll have clarity about the value of others as well.
When we have a negative self image, a deficit of self-love, when we feel badly about ourselves, we are more inclined toward bias against people who are different.
- LISTEN – Our ability to listen is directly connected to our level of empathy. Listen to understand not simply to respond.
- DISCERN – Prayer is the gateway to discernment. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and discernment as a regular, ongoing request…live into this, have faith that you already have everything in you, you’ve been fully equipped, for what lies ahead of you. Then step into those moments with confidence.
- RESPOND – Ask…How can I serve? How can I help?
Join me in creating a better world, WITHOUT PREJUDICE …let’s meet in that open field. Where we will love, listen, discern and respond.
Romans 12:1-2 MSG 1 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 2 Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.