Sigmund Freud once said, “In the matter of therapy, humanity is in the highest degree irrational, so that there is no prospect of influencing it by reasonable arguments… against prejudice one can do nothing.”  But to look at the problem of prejudice and say there is nothing that can be done about it is patient foolishness.  Something can be done, and if we are going to call ourselves Christians, we had best be doing it.  

 St. James put this matter very pointedly: “My brothers, your faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ must not allow for favoritism.”  Then he paints a word picture of two men coming into the           assembly for Christians.  One of them is obviously wealthy; the other is obviously poor.  St. James insists that they both must be treated alike.  In the fellowship of the Church, there is no allowable place for social discrimination or close distinction of any kind.  To prefer one person above another because of wealth, or race, or sex is to deny the central theme of the gospel and rob it of all its vitality.

The Church was the only place in the ancient world where discrimination between people was not the accepted policy and practice.  The temple in Jerusalem had a court for Jewish men, a court for Jewish women and another court for gentiles.  The women could not enter the court of the men, and the gentiles were forbidden entry into either Jewish court.  Roman society was equally as structured with nobility at the top, then ordinary roman citizens, and  finally the slaves.

Into that divided and divisive social order came Jesus, teaching that God is Father and all people are brothers and sisters.  Can you imagine how difficult it was for the early church to implement that concept?  Everything in society screamed out against it.  But for the church to draw lines of distinction would be a denial of the very message that it proclaimed.

We still face that same dilemmas today.  The message of Jesus has not changed.  Society has changed some, but the old policies of discrimination persist.  If the church is to be true to the One that it represents, we must find a practical way to deal with the problem of prejudice.

It seems that the essence of prejudice is that people like to lord it over people.  Just about everyone wants to feel superior to someone else.  One of the most common of these is race.  People whose skin is one color regard themselves as a bit better than those whose skin happens to be another color.  There is hardly a spot on the face of the earth where race is not a serious source of division in the human family.

There are many more forms of prejudice.  Some are money, education, national origin, sex, family heritage,   vocation, and sad to say, even religion.  These are the excuses, but the real reason is that desire to get ahead by keeping someone else down.  The big lie that one group of people is somehow superior to another group of people is the source of prejudice in all its forms.

It seems to me that there is no other, and certainly no better, solution to the problem of prejudice than to take seriously the message of Jesus and apply it to our individual lives.  If there is one God, and He is my Father, then it must be true that He is your Father too.  And if that were the case, then you and I, at the deepest core of our humanity, are brothers and sisters.  Of course, not all brothers and sisters get along.  But at least they have a basis of relationship.  As someone has said, “I may not be my brother’s keeper, but I am my brother’s brother.”  We can start with that.

Then, perhaps, we can learn to see people through the eyes of God.  What a difference that would make!

We will not solve the problem of prejudice in our lifetime.  But you and I can deal with it in our own lives and in our own church, and reaching out from there, have some impact on the community, the nation, and the world.  That is the practical approach that Jesus had in mind.