17th June 2020

Pride and Prejudice

“…Do not be proud. Instead, respect other people. Think about other people as more important than yourself.”
Philippians 2:3 (Easy English)

Despite anti-discrimination and stigma laws, the fact is we all have prejudice about various ‘classifications’ we group people into—for example, different races and mixed race, male and female and gender dysphoric, older and younger, mental illness, autistic and special needs, ministry and flock, socio-economic status, married/unmarried or single, education level, muslims and other non-Christians, ex-convicts, politicians—the list of prejudices is endless. Though we may look at others differently, pride over others and prejudice towards them is a natural default.

Discrimination for others is not always overt, but may take the form of disrespect, not taking others seriously, being talked about rather than talked to, being put down, ridiculed or discouraged, treated as incompetent. To counteract stigma and discrimination, Gordon Allport proposed the ‘contact hypothesis’ (1954) stipulating that equal status with those from a stigmatized group reduced negative stereotypes and prejudice, while mutual and active co-operation and goals increase tolerance.

Certain Bible authors also allude to this principle. If we look first at James, brother of Jesus Christ; he says “My Christian friends, you must be kind to everyone…So, do not think that anyone is more valuable than any other person (James 2:1). In writing to the Philippians, Paul wrote (2:5-6) You should think about things in the same way that Christ Jesus thought: Christ had the same nature as God. He was completely equal with God. But he did not try to keep hold of that.” The enormity of God, our Creator, who is far above mankind, that He should become a human being, making Himself equal with us, is a huge and humbling concept to grasp.

Jesus Christ told us not to ‘lord it over others’, rather “The person who wants to be the most important person among you must work hard for everyone else. Even the Son of Man himself came to earth to be a servant to other people” (Matthew 20:27-28).

Research, UK legislation and Jesus Christ’s words and actions, point us to treating everyone equally and with respect. Jesus Christ loves everyone, and the message of grace shows us everyone has equal value to God, whilst Jesus Christ died for every single one of us.

Prayer
Father in Heaven, may your Holy Spirit help each of us to remove pride and prejudice from our lives, treating all others equally, and with love as Jesus Christ does.
Amen

Study by Irene Tibbenham
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About the Author:
Irene Tibbenham is a Deaconess and serves on the Pastoral Council in the Norwich Congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
GCI Norwich
New Hope Christian Centre
Martineau Lane
NORWICH
NR1 2HX

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Tony Goudie
Phone: 01508 498165
Mobile: 07931 580409
Email: tony_goudie@wcg.org.uk
norwich@gracecom.church

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