Jonah Lesson 2 - Part 2

Dealing With Prejudice

Icebreaker Question:  Have you ever been the recipient of prejudice in your dealings with another person or group of people?  Are there any nationalities or groups of people who, by their actions, have created feelings of prejudice in your heart towards them?

11.  God's plan for recognizing and dealing with prejudice:

a.   The Bible has some enlightening scriptures that can help us recognize prejudice toward others.  (Because of the sensitivity and absolute abhorrence of the subject, I am quoting the following scriptures verbatim from the New King James Version of the Bible.)

(i)   I Samuel 16:7 reads, "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart'."

(ii)  Genesis 1:26, 27 - "Then God said, 'Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God, He created him; male and female He created them'."

(iii) Deuteronomy 10:17, 19 - "For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe ... therefore, love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."

(iv) Galatians 3:28 - '"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

(v)  Matthew 7:1, 2 - "Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." 

(vi) Acts 10:34, 35 - "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, 'In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.  But in every nation, whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him'."

(vii) Also read James 2:1-26 and Colossians 3:8-11 for additional scriptures concerning prejudice.

b.  As stated in Part 1 of this lesson, Jonah had a problem with prejudice toward the Ninevites.  He didn't like them and he didn't want to deliver a message of hope, healing and salvation to them.  He wanted them to be punished, and to be destroyed for their animosity toward Israel.  Thus, Jonah wanted no part in bringing God's word to arch enemies of the Israelites, and he stubbornly held to that view until God caused him to rethink his prejudicial views, and forego his long held position regarding the Ninevites.

c.  What is God's guidance for anyone who continues to harbor long held views of racism, prejudice, or discrimination?

(i)   God does not show partiality, favoritism, or prejudice.  Neither should we.

(ii)  God deals with humanity through two distinct groups of people - the Jews and the Gentiles (or non-Jews).  The majority of people fall under the Gentile sect.  In Acts chapter 10, we learn that Peter had seen a vision of a sheet with all kinds of four-footed animals in it.  When God told Peter to eat, he was not willing to do so, because Jews considered these animals to be unclean.  Through this vision, God made Peter understand that He wanted him to take the message of salvation to all people, not just to the Jews. 

(iii)  In Luke 10, Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  He wanted to put an end to prejudice and hostility among His people.  He died on the cross for us.  When Jesus cared that much for us, it would be an affront to Him for us to act otherwise toward others.

(iv)  Jesus commands us to love one another as He loved us.  (John 13:34)  He also teaches in Matthew 25:40 that whatever we do to the least of His people, we do to Him.  If we treat His people, whether, Jew or Gentile, with contempt, we are mistreating a person created in God's image, and hurting somebody whom God loves, and for whom Jesus died. 

(v)  While racism, discrimination, and prejudice have plagued humanity for many centuries, we are taught by Jesus to forgive those who practice these things.  (Matt. 5:44)

 

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