For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.~1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV
Bias can be subtle or outright blatant. Battling bias can challenge us.
According to dictionary.com, bias ranges from prejudice to an unreasoned opinion to an oblique or diagonal line of direction. I found the last description interesting because its trajectory goes in the opposite direction of God. Bias doesn’t look upward. Rather, it lies parallel with the world or diverges from its course.
Whether we direct bias toward a particular race, sexual orientation, political party, or belief, the conception of hate comes from a lack of understanding or an unwillingness to accept differences. This can evolve into irrational concepts. Some may exist generationally.
During my childhood, many showed hostility against the Japanese because of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Most believed racial antagonism against Asians was acceptable behavior. Even in the Catholic school I attended, teachers ignored verbal acts of aggression against me. During those early years, that hostile environment created feelings of loneliness and worthlessness. That hurtful experience could have corrupted my view of people, but instead of resentment and anger, God filled me with compassion.
So, what does God say about bias? “It makes no difference whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a freeman, a man or a woman, because in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, you are all one (Galatians 3:28, The Voice).”
James said, “My dear brothers and sisters, fellow believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ—how could we say that we have faith in him yet we favor one group of people above another (James 2:1, TPT)?” Not only did Paul and James speak out on this topic, but Peter also commented in Acts 10:34-35 that God shows no partiality.
For hundreds of years, the Jews hated the Samaritans. They considered them heretics and their women unclean. However, this did not stop Jesus. Surely, it was not a coincidence that He passed through Samaria on His way to Galilee and arrived at Jacob’s well around the same time as the Samaritan woman, a woman shunned by her own people because of her many sins. Jesus then revealed Himself as the Messiah and showed her and her people that redemption is for everyone, not just the Jewish people. As a result, many believed.
Even in the twenty-first century, we continue to struggle with bias. Whether it’s the color of a person’s skin, their heritage, their social or economic status, or a different opinion, this generation continues the same path as the Jews and Samaritans did. As believers in Christ, we must follow Jesus’ example to be kind to everyone because Jesus’ sacrifice was for everyone.
Who are the Samaritans in your life that God calls you to love?
Dear Lord, thank You for choosing me despite my differences, my faults, and my sins. Help me extend the same grace to others that You have extended to me. Help me view others by their heart and not their outward appearance. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Copyright 2021: Battling Bias: Irene Wintermyer: All Rights Reserved