Whatever the form of your prejudice whether it be for something really strongly good or something negatively that makes you really hate – it is dangerous.
Prejudice is a symptom that can rise in the labyrinth mind of intellectuals and equally in the ignorant mind. (My sentence is inspired by a quote from Ben Hecht after the First World War).
Why do I say this now? I am seeing a pattern of history beginning to repeat itself in our lifetimes.
After the First World War a speech pattern began to emerge amongst the German populace that was increasingly intolerant of other people groups. They sought to blame others for the poverty and ills of their nation and it’s problems. The old scapegoat of the anti-sematism spirit began to enter people minds and went unchecked, given room to vent and be heard. Words birth ideas and concepts amongst other things. Thus hearing these words of hate speech towards in this case the Jews especially from those who had influence meant it began to be accepted by the mainstream population. With a few notable exceptions of small band christians one of whom was an intellectual, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He faught a valiant fight trying to stop the hate and missconcepts being spoken of. (Sadly just before the end of the war was captured and killed. He left an important legacy though for Germany and many of the west). I recommend reading his life story. It has so many prophetic parallels to our society today. We are heading down a similar road to war if we do not change things now. Maybe it is inevitable, but lets plunder hell and populate heaven before it is too late.
Why does prejudice matter and why am I talking about it today?
I am listening to how people are talking to each other about each other. I see several patterns of history beginning to repeat itself.
Nazi intolerance of different races in the west even in the USA. Leading to the unbelievable rise of anti-sematism again.
Political poison speech. Republican hate speech of Democrats, calling them demoncrats is just as bad – as hate speech from the Democrats. Republicans try to blame it all on the Bible slagging each other off. Now, don’t get me wrong I love the Bible and try to live my life by it and totally believe it is the holy Word of God. But I know good christians and people on both political parties, both equally speaking in an obnoxious way trying to ‘provoke’ thought and response from the other side. Except it is not having the effect they think it will. They are shooting themselves in the foot. They have been seduced into the evils of prejudice.
Whenever, you hate, or fear something you sink to lower levels of life. Fear closes your mind and heart off to others, shrinking your ability to love others. Hate not only shuts the door in other’s faces but opens up, indeed invites, destructive extermation of other’s points of views. Intolerance breeds contempt and extermination of the other point of view. Look at the school shootings. We kill those who oppose our point of view or who do not receive us, not just physically, but with our words and attitudes too. Here is the dictionary definition of contempt: “to view others as beneath yourself, to scorn, ridicule, disrespect, to view as worthless.” So you can see these are not good values to have never mind to espouse to each other.
In allowing ourselves the selfish relish to parade our toxic thoughts and speech regarding others we affect not only ourselves, but those around us and then because we have allowed this, especially if we are in a position of influence – then it becomes the standard of discourse for the many. As goes the head so goes the body and tail. Tearing each other down, fearing different points of view because they do not match our own.
The USA was supposed to have been built on Judeo and Christian principles where all men and women are free and equal. That implies respect, value, freedom, the right to prosper in all things for all people groups both men and women.
These days I often find that while trying to buy British labeled food in an american supermarket I am directed to buy this from so called ‘Ethnic’ aisle, so the denotation of ‘ethnic’ can fluctuate in its meaning of race anyway. It’s relative, to black people I am ethnic when I am in Kenya, to USA I am ethnic as a Brit apparently, but in the end it does not matter at all. Regardless respect needs to be given and life valued both for baby, child and the adult. It behooves us let people matter to each of us and to God regards of their roots.
Here is a great quote from Deithrich Bonhoeffer. “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the opposite direction.” It is still the wrong train!
The greatest gift that Hitler had was his Stanically inspired rhetoric. It stirred thousands and convinced them to become one with hate and extermination and intolerance and prejudice of others. What was that? WORDS. Spoken amongst family and friends at first, then spread into propaganda, then into the greater public inflaming, infecting bring disease to the soul and destroying the heart of integrity, love and acceptance. Taking us back to feudalism, anti sematism as old as the Pharoahs of Egypt, ownership of slaves, dictators of other’s sensibilities and freedoms.
Don’t think your hate speech matters? OH YES IT Matters. It opens spiritual doors to destroy others. You have boarded the wrong train my friend, no matter how frantically you think you are helping out, you have got on the wrong vehicle to achieve your destination, your goal.
Just because you can fix up a bull fight and insight crowds to riot does not mean that it is good. It’s end will be violence, and people will get hurt, mark my words. You will end up wondering where it all went wrong!
In Deitrich’s treatise on Ethics he says: it is only the cynic who claims “to speak the truth” at all times and in all place to all men in the same way, but who, in fact, displays nothing but a lifeless image of the truth. He dons the halo of the fanatical devotee of truth who can make no allowance for human weaknesses, but, in fact, he is destroying the living truth between me. He winds shame, desecrates mystery, breaks confidence, betrays the community in which he lives, laughs arrogantly at the devastation he has wrought and at the human weakness which “cannot bear the truth.” Dietrich Hethen tells the story of teacher who who asks a girl in front of the class is your Father a drunk? She says no. “Of course.” Bonhoeffer said one could call the child’s answer a lie, as this lie contains more truth as it corresponds more closely to the truth of Christ that love protects, versus shaming and revealing the father’s weakness in front of everyone was thus dishonoring him. There is no ‘truth in that’ he says. (From his life story and treatise on ethics paper). Thus at times the concept of truth telling dissolves, and both falsehood and truth draw indistinguishable close to each other.
I ask you which do you think was better truth in answer to teachers question in front of the class?
Speech without love whether it is ‘truth or Biblical is nothing but a clanging gong. A loud hollow sound. I Corinthians chapter 13 verse 13 says:- “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”
You can still get your view point across with love and truth, by respecting others. Regarding politics, these change from year to year, and nation to nation, and are not eternal. I entreat you change what you can by speaking well with love and leave what you cannot change unsaid instead pray. There is a season for all things. Presidents come and go, so do political parties. Even earthly kingdoms and powerful domains come and go over the centuries. Egypt, Genesis Kahn, Rome, British, Russia, Etc. Don’t destroy each other for temporary things and don’t use the Bible to beat up, shame, criticise and inspire prejudices. That is not what the living Word Jesus Christ is all about and the book was not written for that end or to that purpose. Yes, you can still use your Word of God as ‘A Sword’ but in the prayer closet and not with prejudice, hate, tearing down of others, shaming others, that is not of God.
Relationships are like living art, moving, growing in depth and perception, light and dark, smooth and rough, or like a orchestral piece or choir. Many voices /instruments are needed each being heard and held together by the Creator. Without each other the sound would not be a rich or the picture contain such truth, beauty, depth and scope. We must learn how to understand when and where to come in and to fade out. When to wait for the right moment, a discordant note can spoil a great performance.
Martin Luther King addressed heinous situations perpetuated against black people, but he did it with grace, eloquence, mercy, style yet all the while making a black and white statement about what needed to change. Yes, he was shot for it, but it had to be done. By being rude, predjucied which he could have been when people treated black people like they did, he did not consider a valid response. instead he responded in a Christ like way. He spoke in the opposite way Not in the same vain prejudiced way. From this he rose in pre-eminence and power for all the world to hear.
So I challenge you, take a good look at your speech, your values, goals and motives.
You see by loving others as yourself which is what Jesus proposed, we open the world up not to mention ourselves to an environment where people prosper and I don’t just mean in moniotial terms, but in all ways, in relationships, that leads to thriving lives, creativity, education, good business actions, good towns and city interactions. Good policies to build society on. All of these are Judeo/christian principles.
What is so marvelous is we can help transform death into life, sorrow into joy, hate into love thorough our words with sincere love of God and loving our Neighbours as ourselves.