“And we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against them that practice such things.” (ASV)
By Reverend ray
“There is no such thing as “free thinking.” Everyone is a creature of prejudice… Each person looks at a subject entirely from his own standpoint—his prejudice.”
Looking back over the past thirty some years of my wife and my time together, we have been privileged to live in several parts of the United States as well as in urban and rural parts of Chile.
This has given us a rich experience in the diversity of culture and the nuances that are distinctive to each. How a given culture responds to outsiders is an interesting example of these nuances.
Some cultures extend with open arms their invite of outsiders only to secretly despise the presence of another unfamiliar intruder, while others cautiously warm up to the invasion of strangers into their quaint little community.
Still others, let you know with no uncertain terms that you are considered alien and that the right to judgment is exercised vividly. But all of this is expressive of the presence or absence of a simple attitude that humanity either consciously or unconsciously is constantly dealing with, that is an attitude of prejudice.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in the statement noted above, makes an all encompassing determination that is more than mere platitude. In essence, Lloyd-Jones is saying that it is more than the tendency of isolated individuals to respond a given way to external elements.
In fact, we are all the product of various influences and information that has taken root in our minds and has formed the filters through which we interpret the world and people around us.
It is often so entrenched in us that it entirely blinds to any opposing proposition.
To illustrate this, I recently had come in contact with an individual from the area that spent his whole life being forged and shaped by the standing mindset of the culture. Needless to say, his view of outsiders was clearly posted by the coldness and stoic distancing that seemed to pour from his person and greeting.
He had expunged any thoughts I might have had about striking up any sort of conversation, let alone to enter into any idea of friendship. The message was clear, I was alien, and it was preferred that I would leave as soon as I could hitch the wagon.
I worked under this atmosphere for the remainder of the day without pressing the issue; but accepting that his prejudices though unwarranted, were the expression of a long standing cultural distinctive.
And if there had been any doubt about my conclusions, they were re-affirmed only a few weeks later when our paths crossed again in a local restaurant where my efforts to greet and acknowledge him were met swiftly with a cold disregard of my gestures.
Paul was addressing these same types of prejudices that had formed in the minds of the Jewish culture and religion. As with any prejudice, they are often so deeply entrenched in the thinking that there is an air of self-righteousness that pervades and permeates the disposition, making judgments of individuals on the basis of pre-conceived ideas that have sometimes been planted generations earlier.
Such was the case with the Jewish audience that Paul was speaking to. The Jews had instilled in the minds of their children for generations a prejudice against all outside the circle of their religious culture. But this was never intended or encouraged by God, (See Exodus 22:22).
Paul would go on to say that their prejudice did not protect them from the condemnation of God anymore than the heathen nations around them.
Dribble from the pen.