The Journey 134
Read: Luke 18: 9-14
Racist Believers?. Martin Luther King had made a very famous statement that “Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America”. Sometimes looking at some of the attitudes of the some of the believers in church, I tend to agree with what Martin Luther King said. It was this statement that made me to do some research and I found an interesting news that caught my attention. It was a study done by Baylor University, published in the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, which is suggesting that religion like Christianity may be a contributing factor in racial prejudice. Sounds strange isn't it? . Baylor University researchers found that people tend to go along with racist arguments after being exposed to Christian concepts like the Bible, Prayer, Christ, Sermon and so on. “The role of religion is paradoxical,” the Baylor report begins. “It makes prejudice and it unmakes prejudice.” Wade Rowatt, the Baylor Psychology and Neuroscience professor in an article in the Associated Baptist Press states that “What’s interesting about this study is that it shows some component of religion does lead to some negative evaluations of people based on race, but we just don't know why”. Being Racist or being prejudiced is a powerful word. Whatever be the study, the question that came to my mind is that as a believer do I tend to show prejudice or racists attitude in my relationship especially dealing with others and fellow Christians?. This week we start on a new theme “ Transformation in my community”. The portion that we shall use for our meditation is from Luke 18: 9-14. It is parable that Jesus said about two men who prayed and the way they approached God. It is in ones approach to God and ones concept of commitment to the Lord, that one show ones attitude not only about oneself but also how ones views others. Here is a Pharisee who comes to the presence of God and rather than evaluating his life and his shortcomings, he looks at the tax collector and then views himself as righteous. I think this is the attitude that some believers have. They come to church or they don't come to church because they see certain people in church whom they feel they cannot stand. Hence the only option for them is to stay away from the church or form a group of believers whom they tend to think are likeminded. But look at what tax collector did when he came to the presence of God. Unlike Pharisee who saw the tax collector, this man does not even come closer and stands at a distance. He does not look at the people around him, but on the contrary looks at the heaven and beats his breast and says one of the most powerful word and words of transformation and repentance “ God have mercy on me a sinner”. I think here is the person who acknowledges that he is the one who is not worthy to come to God’s presence and receive His grace and hence he needs mercy while on the contrary the Pharisees considers himself worthy than others, that makes him to condemn others, and to consciously pretend that he is holy than others standing next to him. I think this is what racism is all about. My commitment to Christ should lead me to the attitude that Jesus had “ To love sinners but hate sin”. Let us think whether in our attitude and through our commitment and also through our dealings, whether we tend to show that we are a “Racist Believers”?.