Generalizing is the belief that all members of a group are alike. It assumes that a few individuals in the group represent the whole group. Therefore every individual believes, thinks, and acts exactly like all the others.
Generalizing believe that…
- Women are _________.
- Men are _________.
- White people are _________.
- Black people are _________.
- Democrats are _________.
- Republicans are _________.
- Christians are _________.
- Muslims are _________.
- Jews are _________.
- Urban dwellers, suburban dwellers, rural dwellers are_________.
And the list goes on and on and on.
I know we’re all guilty on occasion but maybe it’s time to say…
ENOUGH Already! It’s time to Stop Generalizing!
God made each of us unique and wonderfully complex.
You alone created my inner being.Psalm 139:13–14
You knitted me together inside my mother.
I will give thanks to you
because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made.
Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.
He gave each of us the characteristics and abilities to use for His plans and purposes.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10
Friends, as God’s children it is up to us to lead the way and set an example saying “NO MORE” to generalizations and stereotypes.
The thing is . . . I think we’re all guilty.
We group together people who attend a different church, people who vote for a different candidate, and people who look or dress differently.
No one wants to be labeled a bigot but look how the word is defined:
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.
So, what’s the solution? How do we make a difference?
We intentionally see every single individual as someone who is created by, precious to, and dearly loved by God!
4 Ways to Stop Generalizing
and Start Loving Like Jesus
1. Refuse to get involved in any discussion that begins with a generalization about any group of people, any place, and at any time.
2. Be open to new conversations. Get to know people of different races, beliefs, and backgrounds. You might be surprised to find out that your generalizations are completely wrong.
3. Know the source of your generalized ideas. Is the source of your belief truth or someone else’s biased opinion? You should be able to answer those questions. Too many of us believe hearsay from unreliable sources.
4. Encourage kindness and stand up to bigotry. It’s time for followers of Christ to truly follow His example, by seeing every individual as uniquely and wonderfully made.
Jesus listened to people, talked with them, and showed them a better way.
I love the account of Jesus visiting with the Samaritan woman at the well.
The Life Application notes explain the account like this:
This woman 1) was a Samaritan, a member of the hated mixed race, 2) was known to be living in sin, and 3) was in a public place. No respectable Jewish man would talk to a woman under such circumstances.
And do you remember what happened? She not only came to trust and follow Jesus but…
Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!”
He touched her life and she made it possible for Him to touch the lives of many others.
Friend, we can do the same.
Let’s go to the One who is able to help us and give us everything we need to stop generalizing…
A Prayer to Stop Generalizing
and Love Like Jesus
Father, please forgive us. We are allowing ourselves to be divided into groups by gender, race, beliefs, and political alliances. We are failing to love the way You commanded us to love. I am so sorry for my own failures . . . the times I’ve listened to the enemy’s lies and stereotyped groups of people without taking the time to love, listen, and learn.
You declare each of us unique and wonderful. You gave each of us a specific one-of-a-kind DNA. We have an individualized combination of characteristics, skills, and abilities given to us to be used for Your plans and purposes. And Your plans and purposes are for us to love and be loved by You and to share Your love with everyone we meet.
You don’t tell me to only love the people who look like me and think like me. You tell me that everything I do is to be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14) You tell me that love is shown through humility, gentleness, patience, kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness. (Ephesians 4:2,32)
Please help me, Lord. Fill me with Your Spirit. Fill me with Your love. Help me love like Jesus. Help me love in ways that give people a desire to know You because they see You in me. I ask this in the precious name of the One who gave His life for us out of overwhelming love. Amen.
So, are you ready? Will you join me?
Are you tired of divisive stereotyping? Are you ready to stop generalizing?
Let’s start a movement. Let’s intentionally listen with humility, patience, and kindness to those who look and think differently than we do.
Let’s put into practice Jesus’ command…
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”John 13:34–35
Tell me what you think. Let’s talk. Let’s listen to one another.
May God bless you and help you to love like Jesus.
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