ALL Pre-Categorizing of People Is Evil
Read Time ~4 Minutes
It’s alarming how quickly so many are to call someone else a racist.
Of course, we mustn’t shrink back from demanding justice where racism exists, but we need to remember that the enemy is not just ‘out there,’ but also IN HERE.
Any time we pre-categorize people (even as a racist), we mentally assign a value to their personhood that is less than our own or someone else’s, and we are committing the same heart-sin as a racist.
Indeed, a “some-instead-of-others” preference isn’t limited to the hearts of white folks, black folks, hippies, accountants, or Harry Potter fans, and prejudice goes far beyond skin color or nationality.
All humans have an amazing capacity to have prejudice about other peoples’
- Economic class
- Place on the popularity ladder
- Country of origin
- Religious upbringing
- The kind of shoes they wear
- Interests in High School
And if they smoke or chew, or roll with girls who do.
God says any and all discrimination is evil.
“Suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?” (James 2:2–4, NLT)
James is counseling us not to go assigning people value before we do some self-contemplation.
While there are examples of racism in the Bible, Scripture’s weight is on searching our own souls rather than accusing others.
No one is arguing that there aren’t things that are visibly, obviously racist. Yet these examples don’t give us an alibi for why we are NOT evaluating our own hearts BEFORE we serve as someone else’s accuser.
Jesus taught us in Matthew 7:1-6 that, more often than not, even if you’re RIGHT about their sin, you’re going to do damage if you don’t get the log out of your own eye first.
Let’s be extremely careful when considering pointing out the speck in someone else’s eye.
Jesus says, “Do some business with me, search your own heart, and I MAY decide to use you to help others see more clearly.”
One of the reasons that the Holy Spirit preserved 1 Samuel 16 in the Bible was to help us understand that humans, even prophets of God, are NOTORIOUSLY bad at seeing people’s hearts.
Just like Samuel, we make snap decisions by HOW THINGS LOOK all the time.
The Lord warns us, “You’re under-qualified for judging people in the same way that I judge them because you ONLY look at what is on the outside, while I am much more concerned about what I see that you cannot.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT)
You and I don’t need to get better at determining the racism of other people, but at discerning our own prejudices of color, class, power, and all the rest.
So what do we do?
Unless it’s outrageously apparent, I’m going to resist the accusations of the enemy that you’re a racist, pray that we will ALL be convicted about our own sinful biases, and run to the cross to obtain mercy and find God’s grace to help in our time of need (see Hebrews 4:16).
Are the prejudices in my own heart? Are there people I’m pre-categorizing and prejudging? Forgive me for the times my desire for justice may have been sinfully twisted on account of my own spiritual blindness and immaturity. I invite You to mercifully cleanse my heart so that I might be more helpful to You and for the sake of your kingdom.
Sermon: Race + the Kingdom | Week One
Posted on July 2, 2020