I have never considered myself a prejudiced person. I grew
up in a family that emphasized not judging people based on
skin color. However, the following passage opened my eyes to
the fact that prejudice takes a thousand different forms:
For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes
into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also
comes in, and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine
clothing and say, "Have a seat here, please." while you say to
the poor man, "Stand there," or "Sit at my feet," have you not
made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with
evil thoughts?...But you have dishonored the poor man...If you
really fulfill the royal law, according to the scripture, "You
shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well. But if you
show partiality, you commit sin (James 2:2-4, 6a, 8-9a).
We dishonor people not only when we mistreat them but also
when we ignore them.
The solution is to love our neighbor as ourselves, to treat
others the way we would like to be treated.
Our society discounts certain groups of people--the poor,
the less attractive, the uneducated, the elderly, etc.
Likewise, young children are often discounted by their elders.
When I was a kid, I remember wandering among the guests at my
parents' parties. None of the guests talked to me or even
acknowledged that they saw me. I remember thinking, Am I
invisible or what?
Wouldn't it be incredible if we would concentrate on
honoring others by treating them the way we would like to be
treated. If we do this to those considered to be "beneath" us,
the impact can be phenomenal.
A friend of mine, Brad Skaggs, was asked to go to DFW
Airport to pick up a man who was not only a renown author and
speaker but also the vice-president of one of the largest
mission organizations in the world. Being somewhat in awe of
this man, Brad was nervous and excited. Afterward Brad
marveled, "I was really surprised at his interest in me as an
individual. He wanted to know all about me!"
Jesus said, "Whatsoever you do to the least of these my
brethren, you do so unto Me" (Matthew 25:40).