Meditation: Who Can you Hate?
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. Galatians 3:28
She found a seat in the front of the buss and refused to give it up. Rosa Parks changed the world. It will be fifty years ago on Nov.13 that the supreme court ruled that segregation on busses in Montgomery Alabama is unconstitutional. In Galatians we are told that those who have found freedom in Christ will no longer discriminate against others because of their race, national origin, religion, economic status, or because of their sex.
The country has changed drastically since the early days of the civil rights but in the most fearful places in the human heart discrimination still finds a home. In recent articles found on http://ecapcw.org we have come to see that Jesus did away with the need for a scapegoat. However, there is evidence all around us that specific groups are targeted as the cause of our nation’s problems.
Even many Christians identify our economic problems as being the fault of people who live here without proper citizenship. The term “illegal alien” is culturally defined as people who are Hispanic. Hatred and distrust of those who appear to be Hispanic is growing. The individuals are the scapegoat for failed laws and economic fears. Many Hispanic -Americans whose ancestors arrived here before the mayflower are now being treated with suspicion when they cash a check or conduct business. As the economic climate gets worse the discrimination gets worse resulting in violence and race wars.
Our current invasion of Iraq was fueled by religious discrimination. All Muslims were judged by what we were told about those involved in the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings and the resulting loss of life. Again many gave fear a place in their hearts and used it to justify the “shock and awe” on innocent Iraqi citizens. A “Christian” movement in the US seeks to “bring nations to Christ” believing that there is such a thing as a “Christian Nation.“ Jesus taught that only individual hearts can be changed. Jesus would say for the Christian there is neither “Christian” nor “Muslim” but people who are loving to one another. Jesus even befriended Simon the “Zealot” ( the terrorists of Jesus’ day ) . As the cost of war takes its toll on our economy we see the widening gulf between rich and poor and here too we find the fear of discrimination.
Our President demonstrated these subconscious fears when he said, "First, let me make it very clear, poor people aren't necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn't mean you're willing to kill." (Washington DC May 19, 2003) Many see the poor as dangerous, desperate, immoral, lazy and unwise. “They” are the “other” we never want to become. Our values of acquisition of things, money and power over shadow our common human bond. Upon seeing thousands of people crowded into a sports arena after hurricane Katrina Barbara Bush said, “… many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this is working very well for them." (Editor and Publisher, Sept. 5, 2005.) Like her, many forget that the poor are just like us and feel sorrow, humiliation and helplessness when they lose their homes and are separated from their families.
Some who profess Christ forget that they are free and let fear remain in their hearts. We have seen a Pastor, who feared being found out, preach passionately against homosexuals (and drug addicts.) National referendums were voted on this past week to limit the civil rights of non-heterosexuals. Some even want to change the constitution to restrict their rights. Again fear is segregating and separating us from one another. In some states it is still legal to fire someone for being gay. Consequently, Some feel forced to pretend. The pretending fuels the fear and separation.
Jesus said that when we are living in the freedom of Christ we no longer relate to people along the lines of race, religion, money or sex. We relate to people as humans and accept them all.
Who can a Christian discriminate against ? - No one.
Prayer: Thank you for your grace which has been poured out upon us. Help us never forget that we are a part of humanity and share the indignities and injustices of all. Then, let us go out and demonstrate the light of your grace which shines in our hearts for others. Amen.
Action: Reflect on your thoughts….deeds……actions……regarding those of other nationalities, religions, economic status, and sex.
Speak up and take action when you encounter people scapegoating others and remind them that Jesus loves us all.