Prejudice

100_0383Biased opinions, attitudes and thoughts without firsthand knowledge or understanding

Everyone is a prisoner of his own experience. No one can eliminate prejudices–just recognize them. Edward R. Murrow

 

Prejudice is the child of ignorance. William Hazlitt  

Much of our ignorance is of ourselves. Our eyes are full of dust. Prejudice blinds us.  Abraham Coles

   It we have uninformed beliefs or opinions we are often limited because of prejudice. It sounds idiotic that we would purposely choose to be this way. All societies and cultures have suffered from prejudices throughout their histories. The cure for prejudice is to be informed, educated, and open minded to other possibilities.

    It is unintelligent to knowingly form a conclusion from a position of ignorance. We should be at least open-minded about things of which we have very little knowledge. In our increasing informed society the subject of prejudice and discrimination is constantly in the news. More than ever the forces of the informed are able to exert influence on those who are ill-informed. Often the minority now triumphs over the majority in making societal changes. The civil rights movement is a great example of the overcoming of well-entrenched and powerful racial prejudice. It started with a few dedicated individuals who committed their lives to making changes. Through the years the forces of society have shifted away from status quo acceptance of racial prejudice to increasingly become intolerant of it. Overall we are much better for it.

     We have a natural tendency toward doubting or even condemning that which we do not understand. The root of this is our limiting beliefs and fear of the unknown. We fear the unknown because we believe that it poses threats to us. This fear tends to encompass all things that are outside the domains of our comfort zone. In addition to the common fears of death, public speaking, new experiences, and so forth; we fear those belonging to different cultures, religions, beliefs or traditions. Many prejudices are tough to overcome because they were passed on to us by our parents. Societal prejudices have often been handed down for generations. These prejudicial conditions exists throughout the world. As our world gets smaller and smaller; more open; and global in nature; it will get increasingly tougher for us to hold onto many of our unfounded prejudices.

     Overcoming our prejudices requires avoiding conclusions about others or new things until we are informed. It means avoiding pre-conceived opinions and biases. These are serious handicaps limiting and imprisoning us. An examination of facts may lead us to conclude that we are limited in our thinking. If we had never been able to overcome any prejudices, we would still be living very lonely lives in our caves. Overcome your prejudices!

Challenge: What prejudices do you have or have you had? It would be an exceptional person who has no prejudices. Do an honest self-assessment. Ask friends and loved ones for feedback.  It takes maturity and honesty to admit your prejudices. Identify one of yours. Vow to look at it with a truly open mind. Really examine your beliefs. Come to a more-informed conclusion based on an intelligent and informed evaluation.

Wisdom: We are each burdened with prejudice; against the poor or the rich, the smart or the slow, the gaunt or the obese.  It is natural to develop prejudices.  It is noble to rise above them.  Author Unknown

Spiritual: (NIV)

I can do all things though Christ who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1; 7

We should be extremely grateful that God is not prejudiced against us for all of our ugly shortcomings, faults, warts, and blemishes. When viewed against God’s holiness, we are ugly and pitiful. Despite these things, God loves us. He loved us so much He sacrificed himself for us. He is our heavenly father and only wants the best for us. His love is so great; there is no room for any prejudices. We should learn from his example.

Prayer:  Help me to avoid prejudices in my life. Help me to be able to love with your love.

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