Do I find unity in Christ with all believers? I recently read a book about tribalism in America. When I think of tribes, I think of Africa, but this book dealt with a much broader perspective. This book was about any group with a common interest. Folks stick together because they have a common ancestry, heritage, financial status, religious affiliation, social attraction, business interest, or hobby. I belong to several tribes: social community and church, my sports teams (New York Giants and the Chicago Cubs), my alma mater, and my political affiliation.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” — Galatians 3:28-29
Prejudice In Your Heart | Finding Unity in Christ
The most important tribe is my family: brothers, sisters, adult children, their spouses, grandchildren, cousins, nephews, and nieces.
What does this have to do with prejudice? Prejudice is a biased opinion, not based on reason or experience. It is a pre-judgment. Prejudice stems from tribalism gone amuck. Those outside my tribal connections can be looked down upon with prejudice. In some cases, that may mean just ignoring them, or in other cases, that may mean you look down on them as inferior. In extreme cases, it means you take what they have, including their lives.
Jesus lived a life contrary to prejudice. There was the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), healing the lepers (Luke 17), dispersing the crowd ready to stone the adulterous woman (John 8), healing the ear of the soldier as they were prepared to drag him off for his execution (Luke 22) and the thief on the cross who cried out for mercy (Luke 23). Many more experiences can be found in scripture, where He shows compassion rather than exclusion. Jesus was continually teaching his tribe of disciples that the Christ-centered life was not about status or rules or ethnicity; it was about our love for Him so that he could deal with our most deep-rooted prejudices and our treatment of others.
What are my most deep-rooted prejudices? Do I look down on others who attend other churches and say, “They don’t have the correct theology”? Do I look down on the poor and say, “They are just lazy”? Do I look down on those who don’t have the education and reflect, “They are ignorant”? How about looking down on women as being weak? “They can’t do what a man can.” Do I look down on those who speak another language and reason, “If they live in America, they should speak English”? Do I look at the incarcerated and say, “They will never change”? Interestingly, at some point in my life, I’ve made all the above statements. It has been a wedge between God and me.
Unity in Christ
God is looking at my attitude and my heart. There are magnificent Christians from other churches. I know low-income families who work harder than me. Prisoners come to faith, and their lives are renewed. Women have changed the world. (My wife has changed me.) The Godliest folks I know don’t speak English. You are one with Christ. You have unity in Christ. Let him help you deal with your prejudice.
Author: Paul Veerman
For more reading materials on Finding Unity in Christ Alone, see below:
- Powerful Reasons Why Community is Important to All Believers
- “I Feel Alone”, And How To Conquer Those Feelings
- Let’s Not Compare Sandcastles