Stereotyping Others

“I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his hometown.” (Luke 4:24)

After Jesus was tempted in the desert, the Gospel of Luke tells us that he returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit and began his public ministry.  He taught in the synagogues of the region and news started to spread about him throughout the whole countryside.

He came to Nazareth where he had been brought up.  He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath and read from the scroll of Isaiah where it is written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom to the prisoners and recovery of the sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  (Luke 4:18-19)

Then he proclaimed that this scripture had been fulfilled in their hearing.  In other words, he was God’s long awaited anointed one, the Messiah!  At first the people were amazed about his gracious words, but then they started asking, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” They became furious with what Jesus was saying and claiming to be.

How quick we are to judge and stereotype the people in our lives!

Sometimes we do this even with members of our own families or friends with whom we are most familiar.   We form a view or perspective about them, and then if they step outside our perspective or exceed our expectations, we refuse to accept what we see.  If they change, mature or exhibit growth in some way, we have trouble accepting their new state.

We make a judgment about someone based upon our experience with them or judge them by their appearance.

We may recall the TV show, Britain’s Got Talent, in 2009, when a singer from a small village in Scotland, Susan Boyle, appeared on the program.  She was 47, had somewhat of a dowdy appearance and was a bit awkward in her speech and manner.  It was clear that both the judges and the audience had immediately formed a low, almost mocking reaction to her, until she started singing, I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. article-1259588997732-0481bca6000005dc-616016_478x616

Almost immediately, their mockery turned into shouts of approval and a standing ovation for her beautiful voice.  Even one of the judges admitted afterwards he had never been so surprised by the performance of a singer.  Another judge apologized for her initial reaction.  Boyle became an overnight sensation on the internet and around the world.

Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged” (Mt. 7:2) How frightening!  God will judge us as we judge others. 

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