Discrimination Is Nothing New
Discrimination is Nothing NewThen saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. John 4:9
The Jews and Samaritans were living in opposition and hatred towards one other. This tension was a mix of religious, social, territorial opposition and disdain for one another. This disrespect and social shunning often escalated into what would be considered discrimination and hate crimes in our society today. Many individuals are living in contention and strife against other people in this world.
The Bible gives us a concrete foundation based upon His truth along with principles of grace and mercy for His children to emulate and cultivate in relationships with other people.
The Bible instructs us:
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
Discrimination against us personally, or those we love, can lead to harboring bitterness in our heart. Anger and contention left to simmer, bubble and stew inside us permits this bitter root to continue to grow upwards and outwards, encircling and choking our entire being, capturing our actions, thoughts and our words and leaning towards evil doing. This root can entangle us into accommodating our reactions or choices towards the standards of the world and not flattering to Jesus Christ.
Discrimination, or standing in judgment of another individual or group, has been at work dividing people against one another by intimidation, silence, verbal jabs, physical injury, or even murder and death for many centuries. “Hot button issues” such as social stature, sex, jobs, beliefs, age, disability, race, color, and sexual orientation are contentious and dividing issues. It is like pouring angry fuel on the fire and raising the heat amongst opposing people and groups.
Today many people might insist discrimination is a new-fangled threat to our society or a politically correct offense or an intolerable hate crime crushing or knocking down many “wounded” around us. How easy it is to be a “victim” in this lawyer driven victim rights society.
The label of discrimination can be a golden opportunity for most that are willing to take their turn stirring dirt in this golden cash endeavor. Many money hungry persons and entities are busy cooking up contention and strife for anyone who will buy into it. Likely, many will “cash in” with a skillful presentation by lawyers who debonairly prove a victims rights have been violated. Cases of individual rights and political correctness litter our society and have overrun our beleaguered and overwrought court systems.
News reports often detail high profile discrimination cases where the victim has been pushed to the breaking point, or has been brought to the brink of despair because another individual or group of people has severely mistreated them some way. Yes, there are proven situations where individual cases have included barbaric treatment, mistreatment, exploitation, abuse, or other harsh situation which leads to incite or provoke hurt, ill will, or erratic behavior.
However, not every case goes to these extremes. There is a fair share of “manufactured “cases thrown into this broken down government system of “victim’s rights circus” of lawyer driven settlements where money can provide a balm of calmness and ease the horrifically inflicted pain.
Discrimination cases have added much to pave the way of blaming other individual(s) for an overwhelming situation, for our actions, or for our mental strain, most never readily willingly to accept any personal responsibility for their situations. Rarely, if ever, are the circumstances in these cases one-sided and not collectively the fault of all persons involved in some form or manner.
Praise the Lord Jesus Christ did not pull out the “victim” pass out of His wallet, claiming mistreatment and abuse. He died hanging upon the cross two thousand years ago for your sins and mine. He is without sin and holy. He suffered many forms of mistreatment and abuse at the hands of Roman soldiers who were used in fulfilling scripture. The soldiers, along with the thronging crowd of curious onlookers, hurled verbal insults and observed as a few soldiers scourged stripes upon His physical body then forced Him to bear the weight of dragging His own cross towards the hill of Calvary.
Some of His own disciples deserted Him down as the time of the cross was impending. Judas, the traitor, sold Him out for a mere thirty pieces of silver and Peter who denied even knowing Jesus, not just once but three separate times. All the disciples seemed oblivious to His coming death upon the cross. His disciples, the gathering crowds, the Roman government, Pilate, the Sanhedrin leaders nobody involved seemed to fully understand the significance of His death upon the cross. Jesus Christ did not tout His own horn. He did not try to influence or gather together friends or supporters, nor plead His case before the men in the crowd or in front of the Sanhedrin Court, even though Pontius Pilate could not find or substantiate a case against Him. Jesus Christ chose to speak not a word to or against any of His accusers.
He did, however, speak to His Father while alone and secluded in prayer. He even shed drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, acclimating himself to be in full obedience to His Father’s will. Jesus had asked the disciples to keep watch as He intensely prayed in the garden, twice. Both times His disciples fell asleep during their watch. This certainly seemed to indicate the disciples did not comprehend the circumstances about to unfold for Jesus. Like many people today, the disciples not “tuned in” to the late hour in relation to God’s time table.
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9z)
Discrimination was just as obvious and widespread in biblical times as it is today. Solomon wisely stated centuries ago “there is nothing new under the sun,” Jesus Christ would likely be treated the same; belittled, hassled and harassed by crowds of people, especially those who call themselves atheists today. Even those who call themselves Christians may not likely all treat Jesus as The King who had hung on the cross for all sins, mine, yours, and whosoever shall believe in faith.
There are many biblical examples of discrimination in biblical times. Jesus wrote in the sand while a woman was being unfairly judged by those men who had surrounded her after finding her caught in the very act of adultery. The men were ready, with stones in hand, to stone her. Jesus stooped down to write in the sand. The Bible is not clear exactly what He wrote, but it is thought by many that He wrote down the very sins of these men, causing them to turn and walk away. They understand and acknowledged their own sin nature in the holy face of Jesus as well.
Stephen was stoned by men to his death in persecution and ridicule for preaching the gospel of Christ. It is possible that Saul, later saved on the road to Damascus becoming Paul, was in this crowd of men who persecuted him and maybe even held Stephen’s coat as he endured this awful and unjust treatment at the hands of evil men.
Discrimination, disagreements, disdain, anger, and the like were originally ushered into the world when satan, the fallen angel, fell from Heaven. Adam, through Eve being beguiled by satan, opened the door to a sin nature by acquiring the forbidden knowledge of good and evil gained from eating barred fruit. God had clearly told them not to eat fruit from this tree.
Old Testament sacrifices were not sufficient to take away this sin nature. God sent Jesus Christ to come in the flesh to shed His blood on the cross. No other sacrifice but His shed blood was sufficient to take away, or impute righteousness to man for the overwhelming sin debt past, present, and future alike.
Jesus was able to serve His Father’s will upon the cross because He had hope and peace in the present, while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, hanging upon the cross, and in His future sitting at the right hand of His Father. All individuals can find this same hope and encouragement if they are willing to sacrifice themselves, being obedient in any situation, living for Christ, not for self. Jesus Christ had this fervent hope and peace amid the flurry of insults and prejudiced treatment being assailed at Him from every side as He sought to be obedient to death to bring about the will of His Father in Heaven.
"Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: John 18:31"
Pilate wanted to evade the responsibility of arresting, trying and sentencing Jesus, instead of honestly refusing to have anything to do with His condemnation, Pilate sought by evasion or “dodging the bullet” to simply move away from this impending case. Pilate could not rid himself of this man Jesus however; for each time Jesus came back, standing in front of him and awaiting for him to assess the verdict.
One of Pilate's questions was, “What shall I do with Jesus?” A question he was compelled to answer in the end. Jesus stands before every human soul, as He stood before Pilate, demanding reception of His message or rejection, and every one of us must personally answer this same question. The question may be postponed, but we cannot wash it from our hands. Every soul must sit in judgment by Christ, and give a personal decision for the course of their life here on earth and for eternity.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
You and I, as well, can answer that question “what shall I do with Jesus?”
We can find that peace that passes our frail human understanding.
We can be busy about His “holy business” as we exist and live for Him in this world.
We should expect racially motivated insults and prejudiced comments heaved at us, stones hurled at us, just like Stephen felt assailing upon his tender skin, and to be christened “religious fanatics” by those who erroneously placed their faith in the god of this world and do not have the Holy Spirit residing in them to comprehend spiritual things.
Why, because you and I are made in the image of Jesus. When we live in holiness for Him we begin to look, think, and act as if we are more like Him everyday.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:27)
To get to the core, or the nature of the discrimination problem, one must first identify with the fact that all men have been created in the image of God. All individuals came from God through Adam and eve whose descendants were Cain, Abel, and Seth. They carried on god’s will producing or procreating in His image until the time of the flood. After the flood Noah and his wife continued procreating in God’s image and begot Ham (Babylon, Egypt, Africa, Syria bloodlines), Shem (Jews, and Arab bloodlines), and Japeth (Europe, Russia, Iran, Iraq bloodlines) and accordingly with Abraham and Sarah, all offspring were brought forward over the centuries unto the present time. There is only one race- the human race. Africans, Indians, Arabs, Chinese, Japanese, various tribes and so forth are not different races of people but different ethnicities within one human race, of which God alone is the head and authority. If it were possible to trace all family trees, person by person, backward through all history, they all would point exclusively to Adam and eve as the “original parents” of all mankind.
God first divided His one human race into two distinct groups, Jews, who were His chosen people and Gentiles who later He grafted into His fold. The population was later even further subdivided into many other ethnicities, each according to their language. This division of languages took place at the tower of Babel. God chose to confuse all languages, sending all people out and spreading these different language groups and ethnicities throughout the world to ring glory to Him and further His will.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
“For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2:11)
Scripturally speaking, all men are created in the image of god and equal in standing with God. Being created in His image is often cut or pulled apart from the actions of most men today. Christ likeness is missing from many lives.
All men being created in likeness to Christ should immediately take any fuel away from perceived race differences or any inequality arguments because all men stand upon equal footing with God both on this earth and in final judgment to come in eternity. God’s verdict will be impartial and without respect to who anyone is as an individual, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. God will judge all according to the truths of scripture rather than heritage, tradition, possessions, or upbringing. Each man is a reflection of Jesus Christ.
Knowledge of God is innately written upon each heart while being formed in the womb. Each individual must choose, out of freewill, to acknowledge Him as their own personal Savior or not. One can verbally acknowledge or profess Jesus Christ without personally accepting Him as their Master and Lord. Words can be spoken but not affect the condition of the heart. Judas walked near God and around God but never chose to invite Him personally into his heart as His God and Lord.
Each man is created in the image of God and should be served and treated in the same manner, even if their outward appearance is remarkably different. The following passages from the book of James outlines how two men were treated differently, or discriminated against, rather than treated humbly through the loving lens of god in the setting of an early church service.
“For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?”
A distinction is clearly made in these verses between a church visitor who is visibly rich and decked out in rich apparel and jewelry; verses another who is clothed in rags and apparently needy. Each man receives different responses from those who are attending this same gathering. The one decked out in rich apparel was given a choice seat towards the front of the assembly; while the poor man who wore rags was left to stand in the rear of the room which was not prime seating in the early church. Segregating these two men, who were at different ends of the social and economic spectrum, which was akin to a silent judgment in accordance to their outward presentation and demeanor. As the Bible clearly states man tends to look upon the outward appearance of others but god looks intently upon at the heart.
“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
God’s answer or the Bible’s “holy prescription” to counter discrimination and diversity issues flourishing today is to walk with Him in a softened heart relationship of the Holy Spirit, not the stony heart of the flesh. The Bible clearly tells us how important our heart condition before God is:
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
God’s children emanate forth fervent brotherly love. If we are walking in love; we are not walking in hate, dislike, or disdain of another. Hate and love are clearly two opposite sides of the coin and different paths to walk. Either people have biblical spiritual love, one for another; or have animosity, enmity, and hate one for another. God in Heaven is a God of love and relationships; hate coincides with the god of this world and divisive attributes are not a part of His holy character.
It is love of Christ and love for Christ that make an immense difference in cultivating loving relationships with others. The Bible contains many verses that speak about the importance of biblical spiritual love in our relationships.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:14-16
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. Luke 10:27
Living a life of authentic Christianity is empowered by the inflowing of His spirit and rich and merciful grace the moment one places faith in God. Trying to live a Christian life in our own power, without the Holy Spirit, is not possible for any length of time. The Holy Spirit and Christ-like qualities free us, removing our burdens and chains, so we can extend His authentic love and live holy affecting others in our midst. Authentic Christianity, living in obedience to Christ, can be a bright light shining amid many battles, including contention, racism, and discrimination plaguing our world.
Do you love Christ enough with your own heart to joyfully display His love to others around you? Jesus left us many illustrations to follow.
Here are a few notable ones:
The woman who met Jesus at the well in the mid-day sun in the book of John had been married several times and living a life filled with sin came face to face with Jesus. Jesus did not discriminate against her, or refuse to associate with her even though she had a sordid past. Instead He freed her from the bondage of sin and shame. She ran to witness to others about what Jesus had done in her life.
Paul is another shining example of one who was removed miraculously from serving the god of this world, to shining brilliantly for God in Heaven. Paul brought people, even those who were spectators to his personal discord and hatred towards others, together in Christ for eternity. This was accomplished through the power and love of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ bears no respect towards any person over another. We are all on equal footing and covered in the love of Christ.
"For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."
1 Corinthians 15:9-10
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons."
Submitting humbly to God in any situation you find yourself in bears witness to the power of God working through you to those around you. Jesus Christ left all of humanity with His perfect example of His sacrifice of dying upon the cross for all sin; past, present, and future. Through His wounds you and I and all men have the opportunity to be healed from the entangling nature of sin if we accept his gift of salvation freely in our heart and serve others out of gratitude for His great mercy and grace bestowed upon us freely. With this great mercy we can embrace others even when they choose to treat us harshly, giving us an opportunity to show God’s love and mercy towards them.
Jesus Christ was innocent, but was treated unjustly like an animal or common criminal. It was this unwarranted treatment that He could have chosen to speak out against, summon legions of angels, turn the tables against his enemies who were treating him in an undeserved fashion. But, it was not all about Him. It was about God, and secondly it for us, all of us, because with His stripes and bruises we were healed of our sin nature. He set all humanity free.
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." Isaiah 53:3-7
Could you have readily put on the mortifying shame filled will of your Father as Jesus did? Could you have allowed yourself to be despised, hated and rejected, humiliated, and physically stricken and depleted to your sorrowful death? Or would you have thrown in the towel, waved the white flag, crawled off the cross, all the while loudly demanding respect for your royal position and expecting your individual rights are given full consideration. Would you then have paraded about in the huge crowd of onlookers pleading your innocence to the charges leveled against you and verbally assaulting those who mistreated you?
Jesus did. He did nothing to stop from being subjected to the horror. Instead He willingly took His cup of sorrow and drank it quietly, and peacefully. He allowed the will of His Father to envelope Him into a torturous physical death, paying the debt of the sin nature for all men in full.
"Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."
Does this mean today a child of god stands idly by as well while another individual or a group of people are being treated unjustly, or turn away claiming ignorance of the persecution going on around them? Or allow another to unjustly persecute and attack uninhibitedly without recourse? No, times of trials, afflictions, and persecutions are prime times for the man or woman of God to lift up heartfelt prayers, quote scripture out loud, and comfort those who are being persecuted or offended in some way if possible. It is a crucial time for the children of God to stand up for Him when others are displaying characteristics, attitudes and evil for the benefit of the god of this world. Having Christ in one’s heart allows one to function without abandon and according to the nature and essence of Jesus Christ and not as the worldly persons react and respond to various discriminating behaviors.
"Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." Psalms 119:165
Bullying has been branded a “new problem” as well in many schools throughout the country. This issue, closely associated to discrimination and hate crimes, would all be immediately disarmed as well if love was practiced genuinely one to another as Christ loves us. Often young kids are intentionally cruel to other kids and pick apart others who appear to be different, dress different, and act different from the worldly standard of “normal.” God’s holy standard of relating one to another is not the standard these bullies use in attacking others around them.
The world drives people to glorify and lift themselves up and increase one’s self-esteem but Christ calls for humility, service, and a life of sacrifice. Living Christ-like leads to a life dotted with pearls of peace amid trials and tribulations. The peace of Christ is at the opposite end of the spectrum from strife, contention and prejudiced actions. Those who truly cherish and love god’s Word will not harbor ill will and anger, nor act in a biased and unequitable way towards others, but will show fruits of god’s spirit living inside of them, treating others with honor, respect and reverence just as if it were Jesus Christ Himself who is on the receiving end, instead of a man. Living in His image is living as if we and those we interact with are Him.
Children of God there are numerous opportunities unfolding all around us to how to others the holy character and unending love of Christ. It is time the children of God walk forward through the litter of scriptural and spiritual obliviousness, living wholly for Christ, having their shield and sword up and other spiritual weapons in place and readied for these numerous spiritual battles among us as outlined in the book of Ephesians chapter six. Scripture is our lifeline; aiding and equipping us for these challenging mental and physical battles we come face to face with here on this earth as we wait for God’s timing to be carried away to spend all of eternity with Him.
For Further Consideration:
Are you leading the life of a victim or existing as a “black sheep” in this troubled society? Exposing the sins of others whose actions are hurting you while ignoring your own despicable heart condition?
Or are you walking in victory and spiritual harmony with Jesus Christ?