24th June 2017


“They replied, ‘Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.’”
John 7:52 (NRSV)

Is that true? In fact, the prophet Jonah was from Gath-Hepher, a town in Galilee (II Kings 14:25). What an insult to all Galileans! And spoken by the Jewish leaders, too!

If we come across someone who speaks or behaves in a noticeable way we tend to react like the Jewish leaders. We look at that person’s background and then say something that makes his words or actions apply to all people that share it.

Take, for example, the hostility between Jews and Samaritans We read “Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans” (John 4:9). It is an insulting condemnation of everyone in either of these nations. Thankfully, Jesus wasn’t prepared to be bound by such prejudices. He healed a Samaritan leper, who returned to thank Him. (Luke 17:11-19).

How about a more recent example. Following the Second World War Germans acquired a reputation for being a nation of gullible followers of whoever is leading them, good or bad. It’s ridiculous really, but you still hear some people saying it. Is it true? Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Oskar Schindler both in their own ways demonstrated the falseness of this insulting put-down.

And today? People now say that most terrorist activities are the work of Moslem extremists. It is ridiculous to say that all Moslems are extremists. Nevertheless, they do tend to be ignored or avoided because of their racial affinity. Should they be? I remember, after the Westminster Bridge atrocity, seeing a large number of Moslems crossing the Bridge with placards saying ‘Islam means Peace’. (It was seeing this that led me to write this Day by Day.)

We come across discrimination frequently. Recently, until it became illegal, seaside landladies would put up notices saying, “No Irish, no blacks”. Hardly a moment goes by but someone says, or does something and many people say, “All … are like that.”

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of saying or thinking, “If X then All.” But would Jesus have said or thought that? I don’t think so. He was happy to sit down and have a chat with a Samaritan woman. Whenever Jesus met someone, He did not regard that person as being typical of all in that person’s group, whether it be religion, race, nationality or whatever. Neither should we.

Father, it is so easy for me to judge all others by those individuals I meet. Refresh in me Your Spirit of love to all, and especially to those I don’t know. In Jesus’ name.

Study by Christopher Reeve


About the Author:
Chris Reeve is assistant pastor of the Invicta (Blean) Congregation, which is part of Grace Communion International/Worldwide Church of God UK, where his wife, Hilary accompanies him.

Local Congregation:
Invicta Fellowship
Blean Village Hall
School Lane

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11.30 a.m.

Local Congregational Contact:
Mrs Annette Woods
Phone: 07473 188326
Email: annettewoods2@nhs.net

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