Last Friday evening I was at a restaurant with some friends and met one of their friends from Chicago (my hometown).
We had quite a pleasant time, good conversation, telling jokes, etc. Then this fellow I had just met a couple of hours before breaks out with an out and out Black/Mexican racist joke, and some of the people I was with laughed out loud.
With that, I said “I’m out” and immediately left in a huff.
I had mentioned to my new acquaintance earlier on in the evening that I’m Jewish. And as I drove home somewhat peeved about how the evening had ended, I thought if he hadn’t known that I might have heard an anti-Semitic crack as well.
Then the next night I got home from having dinner and a bunch of my three teenage sons’ friends were over hanging out at our pool. I make it a routine to go a chat with them and their friends in a situation like this to see what’s up.
We were all having a good time and then one of the teenage girls came out of our kitchen to the patio and I heard this come out of her mouth in a sarcastic tone toward my son Judah, “You dirty Jew!”
Needless to say, my outrage at hosting this girl in my house, with my Jewish little ones already asleep, ended the gathering abruptly as I told her in no uncertain terms that she would do well to, “Never, never say anything like that again the rest of her life”.
I hate prejudice.
This, what I believe to be, a God-given despising of pre-judging and racism pre-dates my experience with Christ. In fact, it was because I wouldn’t pre-judge Jesus based on what my Jewish upbringing told me and what I had studied about what His so-called followers had done to my people throughout history that allowed me to stay open to the claims of the Bible about Christ.
I also was bewildered about the racism I heard from my fellow Jews who you would think would have more sensitivity strictly based on what our ancestors and relatives had been through. But people are people and have this pack mentality.
One of the great things about the Gospel we preach is that we do not deny this very human trait of wanting to belong to a group. It’s just that this glorious Gospel Revolution extends the borders of the group to every human being that has and is walking the face of the Earth, all because of how powerful the work of Jesus’ Tree and Resurrection was in more than turning the tables on Adam’s Tree and Death.
Whether black, white, brown, red, yellow, Jew, Gentile, Male, Female, Gay, Straight-Jesus of Nazareth died for us all. While in His earthly ministry He made demands of us in order to attain eternal life: cut off your hand, pluck out your eye, give everything away to the poor, eat my flesh, drink my blood, believe on Me.
Then when He was crucified and resurrected, no more demands, simply: “Father forgive them, I hold no transgression against you, come and see the nail scars”.
God includes everyone under the covering of His love. The Gospel permeating the soul of human does, too. It’s why we need it (and Him) so bad.