The Tragedy Of Prejudice
Robert Wayne LaCoste
Prejudice is tragic! It is one of the most dangerous and insidious states of mind among men today. It is a sin against the God of Heaven, a destroyer of its victims and a hindrance to the cause of truth, wherever it is found. Every person has some prejudice to some extent, regarding some things. He may have a preference for some items such as food, clothing, colors, books, etc. These prejudices may not endanger his soul eternally speaking or hurt his influence with others, but it could deprive him of something he might otherwise enjoy in this life.
Prejudice does not always mean that an individual is wrong in his views, but it always does mean that he does not hold the views out of conviction from real evidence, otherwise it would not be prejudice.
It is perhaps good at this time to inquire just what prejudice means. Our English word is from two Latin terms: prae meaning before, and judicium meaning judgment. Webster accordingly defines it as "prejudgment, an opinion of mind without due examination." So we can see that prejudice is a conclusion before and without examination of the real facts!
The attitude and action of the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and elders among the Jews toward Jesus is a perfect example of prejudice and its consequences. How they could witness His miracles and not believe in Him is amazing indeed! The apostle Peter said on Pentecost, "Jesus approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know" (Acts 2:22). But these Jews were not convinced at the time Jesus was here of these truths. His perfect life did not prove anything to them. Why? In fact Jesus asked the Jews, "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" (Jn. 8:46). The fact that they could not find anything wrong with Jesus did not erase their prejudice and the hardness of their hearts!
His teaching was far superior to any other teacher they had ever heard, "For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Matt. 7:29). Yet His superior ability to teach proved nothing to them either.
The Scriptures which they claimed to revere and esteem told of Christ. "Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are that which testify of me" (Jn. 5:39). They were not convinced from their own law and that was a revelation from God! Why? Simple, they were prejudiced!
People in this present generation have seared their consciences, hardened their hearts, and turned away with many a deaf ear. Their attitude is like one expressed and heard many times, "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up." This is exactly the position of the prejudiced person. Such an attitude can only lead to eternal separation from God (2 Thess. 1:7-9)!
It is just as wrong for me to be prejudiced toward you, as it is for you to be prejudiced toward me. Many in the Lord's church are certainly prejudiced about many things. Prejudiced about denominations; prejudiced about names, practices, etc. The love of Christ cannot abide where and when a heart is governed by prejudice. Let each of us search our hearts and make sure we have the facts and all the facts before we draw any conclusions and make any decisions! Most of all, let's make sure our decisions are governed by Divine Writ, not by human, uninspired dogma and tradition. The former, not the latter, will "judge us in the last day" (Jn. 12:48; 2 Cor. 5:10).
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 21, p. 654