Guarding against discrimination and social bias

Jesus disregarded the prejudices of the Jews towards the people of Samaria and ministered to them (John 4:7-14). He did not let the self-righteous mindset of the Jews prevent Him from witnessing to the woman at the well. He went into their community and lived with them for a few days. For Jesus, saving people from destruction is more important than conforming to social norms. Are we negatively influenced by the culture of our race or community? Some cultures that promote unequal treatment of gender, or caste system by giving preference to people of a higher social status hinder the work of evangelism.

Do our culture despise foreigners especially if they come from certain countries? Do we judge people according to the way they dress or speak? Jesus ministered to a Samaritan woman at length even though it was deemed as inappropriate. In response to the disciples’ displeasure, Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34). While food is important to everyone’s survival, there is something that is even more important: that is to preach the gospel to as many as possible regardless of their race and social background. Jesus drew a parallel concerning the importance of food and fulfilling His commission. Do we allow the prejudices of society or culture hinder us from doing what is needed to bring salvation to the world?

In another incident, Jesus reached out to the most unlikely people; people who were invalids and relegated by society as liabilities. Jesus came to a place called Bethesda where a multitude of the sick, blind, lame and withered laid waiting for a miracle from the pagan gods (John 5:1-9). However, such a place though devoid of faith and the worship of God could not keep Jesus away. Jesus came and healed a man who was sick for 38 years. Do we pass by with distaste those who were withered and hopeless? Or do we summarily assume that it is because of their own undoing? Jesus reached out to those at the lowest rung of society and healed them with His own faith. When Jesus comes, will He find us at the destitute places of need.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13


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