Colorado Theological Seminary is proud to offer a variety of programs to help you on your way to becoming a ministry professional. Our curriculum is designed to equip you with the knowledge and biblical principles you’ll need to navigate the world, both as a minister and as a follower of Christ. The world is an unpredictable place; you never know what kinds of situations you will face on a daily basis. But what should you do when you come face to face with prejudice?
Us versus Them
We live in a fallen world. The truth of that can be seen all around us. One of the most glaring examples of our fallen nature is our tendency towards prejudice. Humanity seems to be hardwired to group things into tidy bundles; an unfortunate side-effect of that desire is how we group other people. The “us versus them” mentality is the root of many of the world’s most dire problems. As Christians, we are confronted with prejudice in a variety of ways. We deal with it as those around us do, combating discrimination and stereotypes about our ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, and many other superficial labels. But what do we do when we face persecution, either overt or covert, about our faith?
If you have yet to experience persecution for any reason, count your blessings. The reality of the fallen world in which we live is that we are guaranteed to have hardships at one point or another. Jesus himself acknowledged this when he said to his disciples, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 13:33 NIV). In the previous chapter he also speaks about persecution: “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15: 20). On the surface, these verses may not seem to be so comforting. You mean Jesus knows that life is hard? Why doesn’t he fix it? Well, we could do a whole other series to address that issue. But for now, think on the the John 16 verse in its entirety: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
So what does it mean when Jesus says that he has “overcome the world?” It means that nothing the world can throw at us can overcome his strength. It also means that no matter what we experience, we can trust that he knows exactly how we feel. Keeping this in mind can make dealing with the prejudices we face in our daily lives that much easier. Remember that the Alpha and Omega is on your side and suddenly those remarks and jibes from your coworkers and friends don’t seem like so much, do they?
Opportunities in Disguise
Also keep in mind that how you respond to discrimination can go a long ways towards redeeming people’s opinion of Christians. If you maintain your cool, if you shrug it off, and if you can forgive rather than become outraged, hurt, or afraid you will project a confidence and peace that is far too rare in our society. This is the essence of “turning the other cheek,” and it allows you to turn a potentially upsetting situation into an opportunity to witness by your example. This is especially true in cases where the prejudice is more severe than just words. Incredible acts of forgiveness inspire incredible faith in those who witness it.