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The Residue of Prejudice

The Residue of Prejudice

The choices we make, the language we use, the posture we take...it has meaning. And while an occasional slip of the tongue or rush to judgement seems meaningless, the cumulative affect can be enormous.

Mike Rhoades | Nov 16, 2015

My morning routine is pretty standard. Wake up. Coffee. Sit ups. Complain about the need to do sit ups. Drink my coffee. Read the Bible and watch the news. Today was different. I never made it to my Bible, the news about Paris and Missouri University went strait to my heart and sat there. All I could do was stare at the screen. The question, "How?" pulsing like a siren in my head. Can you name someone who is out right hateful? I can't. What I can name are a bunch of people with the residue of discrimination on their lives (me included). Think about the number of times you've discussed a social issue and framed it with vague generalities, making definitive statements about people without first understanding their situation. As a church we say things like, "Hate the sin, love the sinner." What happens when the sin we so hate is vital to the identity of the "sinner" we are trying to love? Recently I was told, "Sunday morning is the most segregated 3 hrs in American." I thought it a weird statement but as it bounced around my brain it began to make sense. We (the church) label things like: LGBT, religion, music, drugs, race, depression, divorce and much more. We call it "worship preference," or "speaking truth." Frame it how you want, when it comes to sin and worship, we like to draw lines of separation. Could the problems we face as a country, as a world, be a result of a kind of lazy prejudice. As I'm watching the news, my mind kept searching for an answer for this sudden surge in tension. Recently I was sitting in a conference hosted by the Youth Cartel. During one main session several presenters, of different view points, discussed the churches response to the LGBT community. Interestingly, the gay Christians (i wrote that correctly) were saying, "Stop trying to fix us, we are God's creation too, and we're trying to figure this thing out." While the other Christian leaders were saying, "We hear you, we realize our bold approach is hurting people so we'll be nicer, but we still need to fix you." Understand this is a gross oversimplification of a very complicated issue. However, the point is simple. The choices we make, the language we use, the posture we take...it has meaning. And while an occasional slip of the tongue or rush to judgement seems meaningless, the cumulative affect can be enormous. Life is challenging. Following Jesus is challenging. I'm reminded of John 8 where Jesus is confronted with a moral dilemma. Clearly Jesus has every opportunity and right to deal with this woman's sin. Yet He acts with such grace and care. How? (John 8:3-11) Here are my initial thoughts: 1. Jesus put everyone on the same playing field. It's didn't matter how deeply they struggled with sin, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." 2. Jesus was most concerned for the person. She was a creation of God, a prize, and Jesus made a point to prioritize the person over the sin. What decisions are we making that communicate a different message than what's actually on our heart? Even though I don't know any blatantly hateful people I can see the residue of prejudice all over. It's like we built the church but forgot to build a front door. My prayers and thoughts are with those in Paris, it's a tragedy on every level. Personally, it causes me to take note of how I treat people. We have such a beautiful calling to bring the hope of the Gospel to people and I pray we don't get in the way. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts! Keep pressing forward. Keep serving well.  

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