Going Through It

“Now he had to go through Samaria.”

Those have to be some of the most loaded words in the Bible.  In John 4 Jesus is traveling, and this requires him to go through Samaria.  The people of Samaria were hated by the Jews.  They were considered half-breeds–less than a true Jew.  They were lower people.  A Jewish child would have been taught from a young age the many reasons to hate a Samaritan.  In fact, most of them would not have traveled through Samaria.  They would have taken the long way around, yet Jesus passes through it.  That phrase, when read by the first Christians (who were mostly Jews) would have been so filled with history and passion.  They would probably emphasize it like he HAD to go through Samaria.  Who would do that if they had a choice?

There is a phenomenon that of late has come more and more to disturb me.  It has always bothered me, but it has really consumed me of late.  It’s what I like to call “casual racism/casual prejudice.”  In most circles today, it would be very faux pas to let it out that you have any prejudices towards another race or culture.  But there is this pervasive casual prejudice that I find everywhere.  No dirty jokes, very rarely any racial slurs, but an attitude . . . an outlook.

I see it in the assumption that if someone is black, they’re probably in a gang/stupid/somehow different.  It’s there when people think a Hispanic person is lazy/a theif/untrustworthy/dirty/poor/stupid.  This to me is just another strong sign of how broken our world is by sin.  It is so twisted that someone could make an immediate assumption about someone due to their race.  We live in a fallen world.  The place where I get really angry though, is when I see this among Christians.

This is where the casual prejudice is most dangerous.  I doubt any of my personal Christian friends or acquaintances are actually racist.   They would be angry if anyone implied it.  But there’s a look, and attitude, and a reaction.  And it may not seem so bad, but God makes it clear how he feels about landing in the middle and not choosing right or wrong-he will vomit you out.

There is absolutely no place for a Christian to have an attitude like this.  It does not matter if you’re not really racist.  We are called to battle for the Way of Christ. You don’t do that by succumbing to the cultural attitude.  You do that by putting a stop to this sort of thing when you hear it.  You do it by plowing in where it may be uncomfortable for you and getting to know someone who you think is different from you.  Jesus was intentional about where he went.  He meant to encounter that woman at the well.  He was aggressive about healing racial disputes throughout his ministry.  We should do the same.

There is no place in the Kingdom for an attitude of anything but love.  Are there habits you need to let go?  Is there someone at work or school you have unfairly assumed things about?  Have you avoided someone because of there race?   Have you put up with someone else’s prejudiced beliefs?  Now is the time to change.

What do you need to go through rather than around so you can heal the world around you?