Don't Blink, The Blessing of Pushing Past our Prejudice
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The truth of the matter is that you barely get a chance to make a first impression.
According to research at MIT, we make a judgment call about a person in 80 milliseconds. That means that you and I make decisions about a person four times faster than the blink of an eye.
It may be natural for us to make split-second decisions about people, but the gospel calls for us to work to redeem our human nature.
Our propensity to define people is the reason much of our society is segmented and segregated. We tend to gather with people most like us, and we have a hard time giving others a chance. Unfortunately, our propensity to make these snap judgments makes its way into the church.
In James 2, a passionate pastor addresses the economic partiality he sees taking place in his church.
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.James 2:1
One of the challenges of the church is to create a redemptive community that brings correction to problems we see happening in society. As uncomfortable as addressing prejudice and partiality may be, we must. Why?
- The Bible addresses it. If the Bible says it, we can't ignore it. If James, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, addressed it in his church, we need to address it in our church. Ignoring it doesn't make it go away; it makes us ignorant and unbiblical.
- The world needs it. Jesus Christ is the ultimate answer to real-world problems. If the church is a redemptive community, it's often going to look like kindergartners with crayons - it can get messy. But because our Savior died for our sins and rose from the grave, we can work on hard things, have tough conversations, and come out of ourselves. And if the church is truly a place where we crucify self, there will be blood. But our hope is that we rise from the deadness of our difficulties to live resurrected lives.
- You'll love it. New things are wonderful. Getting past old things is hard. But when we get past our prejudices, it connects us to people that become an incredible blessing in our lives. People that we would have dismissed in 80 milliseconds become like family. They are different than us. They don't think like us or interpret life like us. And it's through these varied relationships brought together by the blood of Jesus that we begin to truly experience the Body of Christ.
It's natural to blink, but the Bible calls for us to keep looking. Don't blink past a brother or a sister in Christ who could be a rich blessing to you. We need to be aware of our natural propensity to prejudice - ALL OF US - and seek the blessing of Christ in redemptive community.