Helpfinder Sampler - Page 15

Others; Neighbors; Poverty; Rejection
Racism is the ugly human tendency to fear or hate someone because their color or culture is different from our own. Ironically, we are forgetting that our color and culture is
different from theirs. Although the Old Testament includes warnings against mixing with
foreign nations, the emphasis was on godliness not on racial hatred. The New Testament
clearly teaches that all races and cultures are created by God and that Christ died for all,
regardless of race or culture or gender.
What does the Bible say about racism?
• J O H N 4 : 9 | She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you
asking me for a drink?”
Although Samaritans were seen as “half-breeds” and hated by the Jews of his day, Jesus
went out of his way to have a life-changing conversation with one sinful Samaritan woman.
• L U K E 1 0 :3 3 | “Then a despised Samaritan came along . . .”
Jesus confounded his listeners by making a despised Samaritan the hero of one of his
most famous parables.
• CO L O S S I A N S 3 : 1 1 | In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile . . . (See
note on page 1080.)
The church of Jesus Christ is called to set the standard for unconditional love and equality
for all.
• E PH E S I A N S 2 :1 4 | For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles
into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that
separated us.
Christ died to destroy all the barriers of hostility that sin has created between people.
• GA L AT I A N S 3 :2 8 | There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For
you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Regardless of background, sex, or race, the presence of Christ in the lives of believers
makes us all one in him.
What does the Bible say about ethnic or racial prejudice?
• L U K E 1 0 :3 3 | “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt
compassion for him.”
• J O H N 4 : 9 | The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.
• AC T S 1 0 :2 8 | Peter told them, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter
a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no
longer think of anyone as impure or unclean.”
• AC T S 1 0 :3 4 - 3 5 | Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In
every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.”
• AC T S 1 1 :1 8 | When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God.
They said, “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of
their sins and receiving eternal life.”
Jesus broke the judgmental stereotypes of his time. He reached across lines of racial and
gender prejudice and division to demonstrate equality and respect for all people. God
made us all different so that when we work together our efforts are more complete, more
beautiful, and more effective for everyone. There are few things more powerful and productive than a diverse group of people working in unity.
• J O H N 1 : 4 6 | “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from
Don’t be prejudiced against a person because of the place where he or she grew up or
now lives. The other side of the tracks is often viewed as less than this side, but God lives
on both sides of the tracks.
How can I overcome prejudice?
• 1 S AMUEL 16:7 | “Don’t judge by his appearance or height. . . . The Lord doesn’t see
things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at
the heart.”
• IS AIAH 53:2 | My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a
root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing
to attract us to him.
Don’t be prejudiced for or against a person because of appearance. Stereotypes abound—
prejudice against fat people, short people, skinny people, ugly people, black people, white
people, yellow people, people with skin defects, bald people—the list goes on. But the real
person is inside; the body is only the shell, the temporary housing. It is wrong to judge a
person by the temporary house he or she is in. The real person inside may be a person of
incredible beauty.
• ES THER 3:5- 6 | [Haman] was filled with rage. . . . So he decided it was not enough to lay
hands on Mordecai alone. Instead, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews throughout
the entire empire. (See note on page 445.)
Don’t be prejudiced for or against a group because of one person in that group. We often
form an opinion about an entire group of people (nationality, church denomination, local
club) based on the actions of one individual.
• P ROV ERBS 14:20- 21 | The poor are despised even by their neighbors, while the rich have
many “friends.” It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor; blessed are those who help the poor.
• P ROV ERBS 14:31 | Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor
honors him.
• JAMES 2:9 | But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin.
Don’t be prejudiced because of a person’s financial state. A wealthy person and a poor
person come to church. Who is welcomed more? A wealthy person and a poor person
speak up in a church committee meeting. Which one do you listen to more carefully?
• MATTHEW 18:10 | “Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell
you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.”
How often have you heard the words “They’re just children”? We don’t have time for
children. We don’t listen to them as much as we would to an adult. In fact, children are the
true VIPs of the world, because the future rests in their hands.
• 1 TIMOTHY 4:12 | Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young.
• 1 TIMOTHY 5:1 | Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as
you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers.
Don’t be prejudiced because of youth or old age. To youth belongs the future; to old age
belongs the honor of bringing us all to this point. Youth has the opportunity to win the
world. Old age has the experience of victory. We should honor each for its contributions.
• MARK 6:2- 3 | “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?
. . . He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary.”
Don’t be prejudiced because of a person’s occupation. God does not write off families or
occupations. And perhaps that is why Jesus chose to come to the family of a carpenter
rather than to the family of a king. God loves each person, regardless of occupation.
• MARK 6:4 | Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own
hometown and among his relatives and his own family.”
Don’t be prejudiced because a person is a family member or a “hometown” person.
Familiarity sometimes breeds contempt. We know someone well, so we don’t respect that
person. Actually, when we know someone well, and if that person has integrity, we should
honor that person even more. The people of Jesus’ hometown had God’s Son in their
midst but refused to recognize him because of his family and address.
• JOS HUA 22:11- 12 | The rest of Israel heard that the people of Reuben, Gad, and the
half-tribe of Manasseh had built an altar. . . . So the whole community of Israel gathered at
Shiloh and prepared to go to war against them.
Racism & Prejudice See also Dignity; Equality; Fairness; Judging
page A281
page A280

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