Receive One Another

I might not be the best person to raise this issue but isn’t it far time to challenge the use of the term “racist” when we are really talking about a prejudice, NOT based on skin color, but, ethnic differences?

Ethnicity is “belonging to a social group that has a common … CULTURAL tradition.” Different ethnicities means different languages; different foods, different rituals, including worship; different social values, a different importance placed on community and family …to name a few.

In America there was no legacy culture—unlike many other nations that have histories of traditions that define what it means to be who they are as a nation. We started with 13 colonies for that reason. We have always been a nation of immigrants or descendants of immigrants. We are, in all honesty, already multilingual. Our cuisine was borrowed from a global buffet. Our government is not parliamentary, as other democracies, though, many Americans don’t understand this and that is a constant political soreness.

If there is a common thread it has to be the belief that there is a FREEDOM in America to live unencumbered by a national mindset that restricts one’s dream of a fulfilling and “happy” life. The Declaration of Independence reads,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men .. are endowed by their Creator with certain … Rights, … among these are … Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

And maybe in each one’s personal pursuit after this dream, we began to climb over one another on the way to the top [it’s called “hubris”]. Some are more inventive, more willing to take risks, to acquire that “freedom.” Prejudice is the idea that someone else because of their ethnicity is in the way and they should be pushed aside, or worse, exploited in order to reach that “top rung.”

The dictionary defines prejudice as “preconceived opinion that is NOT based on reason or actual experience.” There are a few things wrong with this definition. First, please don’t solicit “reason” to justify the notion that another person is “in the way” of your “happiness”! And second, prejudice profiles ALL persons of another ethnicity. There is an “individual” factor in how someone lives, and the values they place on experience—this should not be subject to the opinion of another!

Prejudice is, therefore, placing a personal value on someone else’s way of life which is based on opinion only [a judgment not based on knowledge] and NOT based on the other person’s own evaluation of themselves—not based on “getting to know them as a person, as American.”

“In Genesis 27:46, for example, Rebekah exclaims her frustration with Esau’s wives because of their ethnicity: “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women,” she says to Isaac, her husband. “If Jacob [her other son] takes a wife from among the women of this land, my life will not be worth living.”

There are examples throughout the Bible of what ought not be! “[The] Jews do not associate with Samaritans.” John sadly wrote [John 4:9 ]. The Bible is alerting the wise to something that must be purged from Christian society. We don’t have to claim a friendship with every one living in America but when we do not, make sure it is not based on prejudice.

By the way: For the believer in Christ no other believer for any reason should be marginalized.

“Therefore accept (befriend) one another, just as Christ also accepted you, to the glory of God” [Romans 15:7].

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