Damn Discrimination

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I stopped in at a major retail store last week. I wish I hadn’t. Whatever they were playing on the store speakers was probably pop (as in, popular) music but the sexualized lyrics offended me enough that I rushed out of the store. As I walked to my car, I wondered… how do parents explain this stuff to their children?

I don’t listen to pop music. I can’t find enjoyment in most of what Hollywood calls “entertainment”. The TV shows I prefer to watch are documentaries. The last magazine I read was AARP (seriously). I’m not a prude. I have seen and experienced far too much to ever be a prude. Yet I no longer possess the ability to enjoy much of what the world calls entertainment.

When the prevailing cultural influences (like pop music) convince women they are judged only by their appearance, and also convince men that women are there for their pleasure, what else could we expect?

I have lived long enough to see the American civil rights movement, the women’s liberation movement, the LBGT movement, anti-war protests, million-man marches; and there will be more. At the core, all have been resistance demonstrations borne of frustration and anger from the oppressed and marginalized.

Would you be surprised to learn that movies, music, magazines and other entertainment once supported bias against the individuals of these communities? Christians should not be surprised by discrimination. Just look at the cross. And it already exists for us in many places.

Still, we discriminate against people we do not understand or agree with. As much as it stings, we should admit it: we are not as much like Jesus as we wish we were. When we unjustly discriminate against a person or a group because they are different, we have more in common with the crowd shouting, “Crucify him”.

If we accept cultural influences as lessons on how to live, we will eventually see pain, misery, oppression and rejection of human beings. That is the condition of the human heart that does not know God.

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:17-24

Discriminating against people is a sin because all are created in the image of God. We will not agree with each other, and it is silly to think we should. If we were faced with similar forks in the road as others, we can’t know for certain how we would choose to respond. For all of us, even the most devout followers of Jesus, were once in the dark: foolish, selfish, alienated from God.

It is not necessary that I understand you, nor that I completely agree with you, in order to love and respect you. I don’t even understand myself sometimes! But Love, Himself, knows all, about all. And He said,

Love your neighbor as yourself.’  Matthew 22:39

and

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:1-3

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Father, give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to love what You love. Show us how to hate our own sin, and to love others – because You first loved us.

 

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