ODJ: pride and prejudice

December 4, 2015 

READ: John 1:43-51 

“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (v.46).

Sadly, all of us—even the best of us—have prejudices. I was shocked to one day realize my own prejudice against a Christian denomination. I’d been deeply hurt by people in it, and any time the denomination’s name came up, words like “Pharisees,” “legalists,” and “unloving” came to mind. I basically thought, Can anything good come from that denomination?

Nathanael once asked a similar question pertaining to Jesus’ hometown.

It all started when Philip told Nathanael that Jesus was the one that “Moses and the prophets wrote about” (John 1:45)—the promised Messiah. But Nathanael’s response indicated that Nazareth had a bad rep. How was it possible that the Messiah could come from such a no-good, dirty, rotten place? Though it’s not recorded, perhaps Nathanael thought to himself, The Messiah’s supposed to come from Bethlehem. For at that moment, Nathanael had no idea that Jesus was actually born there! (Luke 2:1-6).

Nathanael was prejudiced against the Nazarene people; he didn’t think they amounted to much or had much—if anything—to offer the world. But Jesus gave him the surprise of his life. The Savior and Deliverer did grow up in no-good Nazareth, of all places. In Nathanael’s first conversation with Jesus, it was so evident that He was indeed the Messiah that Nathanael cried out: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God— the King of Israel!” (John 1:49).

I’ve asked God for forgiveness and have strived to counter my prejudice by thinking of all the lovely people who belong to the denomination I once loathed. Their lives have countered my bias.

Yes, each one of us has prejudices. But praise God that He’s unprejudiced and shows no favoritism (Romans 2:11). May we follow His loving ways!

—Marlena Graves

365-day-plan: Philippians 3:1-21

Read James 2:1-8 and consider what it looks like to show prejudice against others in the body of Christ and those outside of it. 
Consider the areas in your life where you are prejudiced. If you’re unsure, ask God to reveal them to you. How might you overome your wrong thinking by His power?