Thursday, February 2, 2017

Mentoring the Truth Even When Others Express Bigotry, Stereotyping, or Hate

There are so many topics that need to be addressed in the mentoring of others. So, when people say that they don’t know how to mentor or on what topic to mentor, it is usually just an attempt to get out of the job that God as asked them to do. First and foremost, a Christian’s responsibility is to just be there for the person by listening and then just being there to answer their questions. We are not to try to impose our opinions and beliefs on others, but we are to tell the truth when the truth needs to be told. Actually, it is through the process of befriending and simple fellowship, that a potential mentee will often bring up the topics that are of interest to or of concern to her. Sometimes, though, mentoring during those times is just the gentle correcting of social or biblical misunderstandings as they arise in conversations. However, many Christians will simply let the moment surrounding a controversial statement or question to pass without saying anything, because they don’t want to step on someone’s toes, or they are too afraid to risk telling the truth in a world that colors the truth with falsehoods and sometimes down right lies. More often than not, gossip and misunderstood statements from others as well as their failure to acquire the knowledge needed to understand an issue fully is part of the twisting of the truth or lies on which false information, bigotry and hate is based.

(My blogs are a little longer than most, but I usually break them up into sections so that you do not have to read the entire blog at one setting. Feel free to take your time and consider the truths that come from the Word of God. Then go to your Bible and confirm these truths so that you can use these truths from the Word of God to help you mentor others for the Lord. Remember, we were created to honor and love God first, and then to love others as we love ourselves.)

Searching out the Truth and Telling the Truth

Christians, though, are supposed to search out the truth if we aren’t sure of the truthful answer. Then, we are to share the foundation of that truth, which comes from the Bible, with others so that they too can grow in the light of Christ and the Word of God. We have a good example of what we are to do when we don’t know if something that we are hearing is the truth or not. In fact, that example is found in the book of Acts, where we are told about a group of people known as the Bereans who always sought out the truth. The Apostle Paul tells us that the Bereans “… were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message.” But they did not stop with just listening to the message. “They searched the Scriptures day after day to check up on Paul and Silas, to see if they were really teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews believed, (in Christ) as did some of the prominent Greek women and many men.”  -- (Acts 17: 11, 12. NIV). The Bereans searched out the truth, and when they found that Paul and Silas were telling them the truth about Christ as the living Son of God, they accepted the truth and believed.

Today, many people are afraid to search out the truth, because they have been told that truth is only relevant to what they want to believe. They refuse to search out the truth in the Bible, or to even search out the truth in politics or in college classes; accepting instead what someone else tells them. But, truth does not change nor can it be only something that we want to believe when it suits our own needs. That is why, as Christians, we have to search out the truth in the Bible and in the world around us just like the Bereans did. Then, once we find the truth, we have to be willing to share that truth with others no matter what some people may think of us. But, as in everything in life, there is a right way to do something and a wrong way. It is wrong to be boastful, prideful, and demanding in our explanations of the truth. Instead, we must be caring, thoughtful, and kind in our explanations. At the same time, we cannot just walk away from a conversation because we are afraid to share the truth, or because we are afraid that someone will not like us or think that we are crazy for telling them the truth.

During our journey, here on earth, Christians will be given opportunities to share the truth on many different topics when the Holy Spirit opens doors with the questions we often receive from our potential mentees. The Holy Spirit will also open doors or moments in time encouraging us to can speak up when something untruthful is brought up in a conversation. We just have to take the opportunity to step through that door and share the truth with another person. In fact, Christians need to take every God-given opportunity to speak up for the Lord. But we need to know God’s Truth, as well as truth from other areas of life, in order to make a difference in another person’s life.

This will be a two-part blog on discovering the truth about bigotry, hate and stereotyping of different ethnic groups. All of us need to know the truth on whatever subject that we are discussing or on whatever subject that comes up in a conversation. Christian mentoring requires knowing the truth or if we don’t know the truth about a particular topic, to find out the truth. I hope these two blogs will encourage you to not only step up to mentor others, but to study the Bible and other subjects fully in order to discover the truth for that topic or subject. Opinions are just that opinions, but the truth will not change nor can it be swayed with the wind of others opinions.

The Truth About Stereotyping, Bigotry, and Hate

Whether we are fellowshipping with a friend or an acquaintance, Christians need to be truthful, honest and kind. We need to share the truth on such things as ethics, Scriptures, social issues, and our belief in Christ. We also need to share the truth on such matters as stereotyping, bigotry, and hate. Even though stereotyping, bigotry, and hate are seldom expressed overtly in someone’s conversation, eventually the existence of stereotyping, bigotry, and hate will subtly come to the surface in people’s conversations if such attitudes or beliefs exist. When they do, it is important that true Christians say something rather than allowing the bigotry to stand, because bigotry and hate can not only destroy the person who carries that hate around, but it can destroy others who come into contact with these attitudes if they are convinced to believe in the falsehood of such bigotry and hate. By simply avoiding the topic or by accepting baseless stereotyping or bigoted statements, we are either acquiescing to, accepting the other person’s point of view, or we are giving them and others that overhear the conversation the impression that we are in agreement, which perpetuates their stereotypes, bigotry and hate and the evilness that the devil continues to dispense.

Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us to hate others or to consider other people as less than ourselves. For, Christianity is based upon love. In fact, we are told to love others as we love ourselves. God set down laws and rules early on for His people even stipulating that the people were not to hate. God said, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart; … You shall not take revenge or bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”  -- (Leviticus 19: 17, 18. Amplified). Obviously, this command from God doesn’t mean that we get to pick and choose who we want to love. Rather, this command means that no matter a person’s skin color or their beliefs that we are to love people. This also brings me to the reason for this particular blog today, which is to expose the needless, unwarranted, and evil hatred of other people who are different from us, but to especially expose the unwarranted bigotry and hatred of the Jews. Christians should not and cannot fall into the trap of hating Jews or into the trap of failing to speak up for the Jews when someone else says something negative about them. Indeed, all reasons that have been given or been promoted for hating Jews and the Jewish nation are all lies given to and perpetrated upon the world by the devil. For the devil wants to destroy God’s people and God’s followers whether they are Jew or not. But if the devil can get us to destroy each other with hate and bigotry he can easily accomplish his goal of destroying the human race along with destroying those people, the Jews, that God originally choice to be His messengers and through whom He sent His Son, the Savior of the World.

How do we know that the devil wants to destroy all people?  Well, again we go to the Word of God to find that answer. The Apostle John wrote: “[But] he who commits sin [who practices evildoing] is of the devil [takes his character from the evil one], for the devil has sinned (violated the divine law) from the beginning. The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].”  -- (I John 3: 8. Amplified). The devil’s goal has been to destroy the people that God created by keeping them in constant turmoil and living under hatred so that they do not see the love that Christ has offered to them. Bigotry and hatred is an easy way to destroy the human race because it is sin against each other and sin against the love and goodness of God. One of the easiest ways the devil can get humans to sin against each other and God is to get us to believe in stereotypes that are based on negativism and lies which  can then lead us to the hate another person or specific group of people.

Succumbing to the Stereotypes of Negativity and Lies

We are seeing today what stereotypes or the stereotyping of certain groups of people can do to destroy those people. For example, the black race has been the recipient of negative stereotyping for many many years simply to justify their negative treatment as well as to justify reasons this negative treatment should not change. This negative stereotyping occurs against several other different groups of people because other people are afraid of a particular race of people. They are usually afraid of a certain race or group of people because they lack of understanding or have fear of anything or anyone who is different from themselves whether the fear is justified or not. But in some instances, people’s fear stems from just plain ole jealousy of a particular race’s attributes or strengths. For example, jealousy of the black race seems to come from among other things people’s jealousy of black people’s special athletic abilities such as their ability to be light on their feet and to have great physical stamina that includes the ability to use their strength, lightness on their feet and their dexterity in sports and in other endeavors often outshining other races. There have been many black athletes who have far surpassed the athletes in other ethnic groups.

It isn’t just jealousy of their strengths, though, that causes this fear and bigotry. Because this bigotry and hate is also based on misunderstandings, the difference in their color, and the fear of their potential for intellectual achievements. In fact, anything that humans don’t understand or that is different from what they know, causes them to want to categorize a certain group of people in one particular way. In other words, humans have a tendency to stereotype many different groups of people, which can then lead to even more bigotry and hate.

But it isn’t just the blacks who have been stereotyped over the years. For every race on the face of the earth has been stereotyped by another race of people at some point in time. Today, even the white race has been on the receiving end of this stereotyping and it is getting worse every day. White people are now being blamed for all bigotry and are often depicted as haters of black people by such groups as “Move On” and “Black Lives Matter”. They have lumped all white people with those that do have bigotry and hate in their hearts. But doing so is producing even more bigotry and hate by those that do not want to be stereotyped by these groups. It becomes a vicious cycle.

It is sad, but when humans do not understand a particular group of people, they have a tendency to stereotype all people within that group in order to put all people into categories. Humans think that they can control or that they can at least explain the “perceived” actions of a certain group of people through stereotyping, and if that doesn’t work they simply make up lies about them. But, no two people are alike and no two people think the same exact way, even though they may have similar ideas about other people. Stereotyping, however, allows for group think. Group think based upon lies and stereotyping then gives even usually diverse thinking people a reason to hate or dislike another group of people who are disparaging them. This stereotyping then projects a needless negative view of another race or socio-economic group.

The Stereotyping of the Jewish Race

Christians, cannot allow this kind of stereotyping to continue and cannot become a part of group think or the stereotyping, bigotry, and hatred of others. Unfortunately, there is one group of people, i.e. the Jews, who have faced extermination many times over throughout the years simply because they are different from other groups of people and have been stereotyped by those that do not understand or want to understand them. That group of people is the Jewish or Hebrew people.

Even back between 486 - 465 B.C., during the reign of the Persian ruler Xerxes, one man named, Haman, plotted to wipe out the entire race of the Jews on a particular day of the year. Why did he want them all dead? Well, Haman hated the Jews because with God’s instructions they had fought against his tribe years ago during their trek from Egypt and through the wilderness, thus wiping out some of Haman’s relatives in the process. To make matters worse, Haman was jealous of Mordecai, because Haman could not make Mordecai, the Jew, bow to him even though Haman had a higher rank in the Persian court than did Mordecai. However, God had told the Jews not to bow to any human or to any idol. They were only to bow before God.

Haman was furious! He wanted Mordecai to respect and bow before him. So, Haman plotted to destroy Mordecai and all the Jews. He then told lies to the King saying, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from every other people, neither do they keep the king’s laws. Therefore, it is not for the king’s profit to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge over the king’s business, that it may be brought into the king’s treasuries. And the king took his signet ring from his hand [with which to seal his letters by the king’s authority] and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy. .. And letters were sent by special messengers to all the king’s provinces – to destroy, to slay, and to do away with all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to seize their belongings as spoil.”  -- (Esther 3: 8-10, 13. Amplified).

Haman was able to slyly finagle King Xerxes into establishing an irrevocable law that would wipe out all the Jews throughout the Persian provinces. Fortunately, Queen Esther and her cousin Mordecai, with King Xerxes' approval were able to counter the decree with another over riding decree that would save all the Jewish people. Then when the king found out the true duplicity of Haman, the King hung Haman on the gallows that Haman had built to hang Mordecai. The Jewish people were saved. But this would not be the first or the last time that the Jews would face extermination because of someone’s bigotry, hatred, and stereotyping.

The Jews are God’s people and Christians have to start setting the record right about the Jewish people. We have to tear down the stereotypes and hatred of all the different people groups, but we especially have to befriend and tear down the stereotyping of the Jewish people. In other words, we have a responsibility to reach out to the Jewish people and to be their advocates, just as we need to be a Christian advocate for other minorities or ethnic groups of people.

Jealousy mixed with fear or hatred is one of the most destructive emotions that any person can face. It emotionally eats one alive and makes that person’s life miserable. It also causes the jealous person to do things that they would not otherwise thought of doing. But at the extreme end of jealousy, the person who is jealous will do things to their rival that will in the end destroy both of them. Such was the case with the jealousy and its destructive actions that were projected and then perpetrated upon the Jewish people during WWII. In fact, the Holocaust is an example of extreme jealousy, bigotry and stereotyping taken to its ultimate end – the mass destruction of a group of people simply because of their difference and their uncanny ability to achieve many things that others never even thought about.

If you have not studied history, you may not be aware of how the jealousy and the stereotyping of the Jews led the Germans to attempt to destroy all of the Jewish people. Even Germans who did not participate in the concentration camps or in turning in the Jewish people to be exterminated, were implicated and were involuntary participants of the slaughter of millions of Jews, because they simply failed to help others and stand up to bullies. Indeed, there were many German people who turned a blind eye to what was going on around them, thus becoming accomplices by their refusal to help the Jewish people. In the long run, the ruined reputation and the guilt of the German people, as well as their country’s near economic ruin nearly destroyed the German people; all because their actions and inactions contributed to the Jewish people being taken from German homes and the surrounding nations to be put into death camps. The German people fell under the spell of the hate and bigotry of a single narcissistic megalomaniac killer named Hitler. As a result, the Germans turned against their Jewish neighbors and turned them into the Gestapo (police) to be taken to the death camps.
Millions of Jews were exterminated in death camps simply because they had the ability to work hard, make money, invent new things, and because they held a special reverence for God that inspired them to live daily and uniquely for God. They led a different type of life and it scared those that didn’t understand. It especially scared a man named Hitler whose one desire was to wipe the Jews from the face of the earth. Had it not been for some Christians who hid and helped some Jewish people so they could survive and had it not been for the ally nations that decided to get into WWII to stop Hitler, the Jewish people would have been eliminated from Europe and other far reaching nations, i.e., if Hitler had somehow won the war and continued his mass exterminations. But even though Germany, with  their leader Hitler, and Japan were defeated, the hate of Jewish people did not go away. For anti-Semitism, has been simmering under the facade of our supposedly civilized societies since God set His people apart from the other ethnic groups.

Even centuries earlier, many people that could not understand how the Jews could maintain their devotion to God or why it seemed that God blessed their love and obedience to Him. So people began to make up stories that the Jews were devil worshipers or that they were cheating in their business dealings. Moreover, any story to make the Jewish people appear to be less human than the rest of society became fair game. Those stories and their varied versions have been told since the dark and middle ages, giving the storyteller or gossiper an explanation of why many Jewish people seemed to prosper when other groups of people were suffering economically. 

The Spanish Inquisitions in 1478 started with those types of lies and stories that invoked fear of the Jewish people.  As a result, thousands of Jewish people were killed. Only a few true Christians understood that the Jewish people were living for God and that God was blessing them for their faithfulness. Others, though, were so jealous, that they did everything in their power to take away the Jewish person’s economic ability and status. Eventually, though, limiting their ability to make money was not good enough. Jealousy, fear, and simple evil in the hearts of many lured people into mistreating the Jewish people on a daily basis, which in turn led to the desire and willingness to exterminate the Jewish people.

But the hatred of the Jewish people did not stop after the Spanish Inquisition. It never really went away. The bigotry, stereotyping, and hatred of the Jewish people just jumped around from country to country. Later in Russian in 1871 and then again in 1919 the pogroms, which is a Russian word for the persecution and massacre of the Jews, was approved of by Czarist Russia. Many Jews were killed and others fled to other countries, fleeing even back to the land of Israel.

Modern day Anti-Semitism is alive and well with the middle eastern countries wanting to exterminate the Jews and claim the land of Israel for themselves. But, it isn’t just the Middle East that hates the Jews. Anti-Semitism is alive and well in the western nations as well. We just hide it under a facade of civility. But, even American corporations and companies are now engaging in anti-Semitism under the guise of concern for the Palestinians who desperately want the land that God gave the Jews centuries before. Corporations and businesses are now boycotting Jewish businesses and economic dealings. These corporations and businesses are actually just incorporating their bigotry and hate of the Jewish people into their business dealings to hopefully get the Jews to bend to their demands and to political pressure to give the Palestinians what they want.

For years, antisemitism has been promoted by various hate mongers and groups that continue to fear the brilliance and difference of the Jewish people. Today, antisemitism or hatred of the Jewish people has risen to new heights with nations such as Iran and with certain Islamic groups that have brought new life to Mohammed’s writings to eliminate the Jewish people and Christians, i.e. people of the book (the Bible), from the face of the earth. Sadly, Mohammed’s hatred of Jewish people all stemmed from the fact that the Jewish religious leaders of his day would not compromise their faith in God and their belief of who God is simply to incorporate Mohammed’s ideas for a new religion into their belief in who God is. So, when Mohammed’s ideas for his religion were rejected by the Jewish leaders and scholars, he decided to get even by killing the Jews. Mohammed’s followers have killed in the past and continue to do so today to implement his ideas of hate and persecution of the Jews. That is why many Muslims want to destroy Israel and all the Jews. This is especially true of the radical group of Muslims known as ISIS. But it isn’t just the Jews that ISIS wants to exterminate. For the United States, is in their cross-hairs as well, because the United States is mainly a Christian nation and has generally supported Israel and the Jewish people throughout the years. Now, radical Muslims want to not only destroy the Jewish people, but they want to destroy all Christians as well.

(I will stop here this week and finish this topic on stereotyping, bigotry and hatred in my next blog. In the meantime, if you may want to pray about how you perceive those around you. Do you treat others as you would want to be treated? Do you love others as you love yourself? If not, could it be that you don’t know what true love is all about? If so, I encourage you to read the third chapter of the book of John in the Bible as well as the other three very short books that the Apostle John wrote: I, II, and III John.  All of these books will give you the information that you need in order to make a decision to accept the grace and mercy of God that He gives through the Jesus Christ, His Son. I hope that you, too, will come to know the love of God and the unending love God bestows on those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.).  

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome website. And congrats on the BOOK finally being done. So very happy for you.