Friday, April 17, 2009

Zero Tolerance of Prejudice

Stronghold: a fortified place
" One of the most profound and influential generational strongholds is prejudice. Two reasons why prejudice has such a strong hold is that it is two rarely acknowledged and two widely accepted."
-Beth Moore, Breaking Free
Prejudice: (1): preconceived judgment or opinion (2): an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge b: an instance of such judgment or opinion
Racism: 1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race 2 : racial prejudice
In Beth Moore's Bible study entitled, Breaking Free, she talks about acknowledging that prejudice is a problem and goes on to say "if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem." meaning to say it is not enough to say I am not prejudice or to turn your head, when prejudice crosses your path or to justify prejudice by saying it was just a joke. We are called to zero tolerance of prejudice. Beth goes on to say that prejudice, like other practices of our natural flesh, is sin.
The challenge with prejudice is we absolve ourselves of responsibility often because we may not be the originators of a prejudice statement, action, joke, email or photo. But when it lands in our lap, in a conversation or a forwarded email, it is now our responsibility to take action and be the "undoing" of it, of taking responsibility for things we didn't do.
God has a heart for the oppressed. And in the world today, people are often put down, made fun or in some way treated as a joke due to some element attributed to their race or country of origin. This oppression is prejudice: the fruit of God's spirit is goodness and goodness takes action.
So often prejudice, in the form of racism, crosses our path and we don't even recognize it. One might chuckle, think it was humorous, and pass it on, all the time being adamantly ready to defend ourselves: I live according to the Bible, I am not prejudice, I am kind and caring, don't point a finger at me.....
As a mother of children from multiple races, as a daughter of God who sees His love and compassion and his sovereign orchestrating in color-blessing us with all the richness of his beauty, I pray for open hearts and open minds. I pray for a realization that a strong reaction and protest against what "we are not," may be us covering, what we might find in a quiet moment of reflection with God, a hidden root within, that God may want to pull out.
I ask everyone, do not forward the "funny" emails, do not repeat the "innocent" jokes.
Look in the eyes of our world's children. If that joke was about your child's daddy, or your daughter's momma, would they find it funny? Are you making them proud and encouraged to be what God has made them? Are you blessing them? Are you encouraging the man or woman that might be from that race, or country or circumstance that you are "joking" about, be it accent, occupation, skin-color, country...?
Are you building bridges or building walls?
Stand up united against prejudice. Do not turn your eye or ignore it, when it falls in your lap.
I apologize if you felt I was too strong in my delivery, of calling an ethnic joke racist when it hit my inbox. Since it was forwarded to me and a long list of folks, I took the freedom to reply back that the email was racist.
It was.
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Isaiah 58: 6

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