This post is my response to an email I received last week. The sender, my dad, asked several of us to share our thoughts. So, in addition to replying to him I have decided to publicly declare my reaction.
Jim Wallis shared the following quote in his post for Inward/Outward, titled:
“Regardless of what the New Testament says, most Christians are materialists with no experience of the Spirit. Regardless of what the New Testament says, most Christians are individualists with no real experience of community.”He paused for a moment and then continued: “Let’s pretend that you were all Christians. If you were Christians, you would no longer accumulate. You would share everything you had. You would actually love one another. And you would treat each other as if you were family.”His eyes were piercing as he asked, “Why don’t you do that? Why don’t you live that way?”
I am completely fed up with any and all sentences that begin “you ____________.”
- You White People.
- You Black People.
- You Boomers.
- You Gen-Xers.
- You Millenials
- You Democrats.
- You Republicans.
- You Tea Party-ers.
- You Christians.
- You Muslims.
- You Jews.
- You New Agers.
- You Stay at Home Moms.
- You Working Moms.
- You ___________.
It is just as inaccurate to say all Christians are selfish materialists; as it is to say all German Shepherds are mean.
Dear readers, we have got to stop labeling people based on generalization and presuppositions!
The definition of a bigot – a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one who exhibits intolerance or animosity toward members of a group.
I don’t know about you, but I refuse to be a bigot.
What’s the solution?
1. Refuse to get involved in any discussion that begins with a generalization about any group of people, any place, and any time.
2. Listen to each other. Get to know people of different races, beliefs and persuasions. You might be surprised to find out your generalizations are wrong.
3. Know what you believe and why you believe it. Is your belief based on truth or opinion? Is the source of your belief truth or someone else’s opinion? You should be able to answer those questions. Too many of us believe hearsay from unreliable sources.
4. Encourage kindness and discourage bigotry. It’s time for followers of Christ to truly follow His example, to quit labeling Samaritans, Pharisees, Tax Collectors, and the like. Jesus looked at people as individuals.
Jesus listened to people, talked with them, and showed them a better way.
We can do the same.
You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:36-37