A Conversation About Partiality
Do you think it is fair to say that we’re all prejudiced in some way and probably aren’t even aware of it? Many minorities would say that’s true. Women too. The disabled often feel it. The elderly. Without realizing it, even as Christians, we may be racist, sexist, ableist, and ageist.
In Matthew 9:9-13, Jesus called a man named Matthew to follow him. When he did, he hosted a meal at his house with a bunch of his friends and Jesus. That’s when the trouble started. The religious leaders, who had the responsibility of shepherding the people and leading them to God, didn’t like what Jesus was doing and made a point of saying so. Matthew and his friends were Jewish, like them, but also collaborated with the Romans to collect taxes. In doing so, they placed surcharges on their collections to pad their wealth. To the religious leaders and many people in Israel at the time, they were despised and therefore pushed to the margins, unworthy of God or of a place in society. For Jesus to sit with them like that was inappropriate and offensive to them. But Jesus, of course, calls them out for their attitude and words.
What happened there stands as a warning to us as Christians today. It isn’t just about tax collectors, but any persons or people groups we would show either partiality or prejudice toward. I don’t expect this message to be an easy one for us to hear, but we must. All partiality and prejudice must be eliminated if the gospel is to be believed.
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A Conversation About Partiality
Matthew 9:9–13 (The Religious Leaders)
May 17, 2020
All partiality and prejudice must be eliminated if the gospel is to be believed.
Partiality: a favourable bias, a special fondness, preference or liking for someone or something.
Prejudice: an unfavourable and/or unreasonable opinion, attitude, or feeling esp. regarding a racial, social, or religious person or group.
• Call everyone to life in Christ (v. 9)
• Enjoy friendship and fellowship with all (v. 10)
People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.―Theodore Roosevelt
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” ―Revelation 5:9–10
• Admit that I may be oblivious to my own prejudices (v. 11)
Repentance is: (a) agreeing with God that how I’m living and how I see it is wrong; and then (b) turning from my way to his way.
• Advocate for those who are discriminated against (v. 12-13)
Become an advocate for impartiality:
(1) LISTEN to the stories of minorities and the marginalized
(2) LEARN from the life and experiences of others who are not like you
(3) LAMENT that we are still so far from what Jesus modelled for us
Lament provides the tracks along which the pain of racial issues can move forward…It is a God-given means for vocalizing complicated and loaded pain.—Mark Vroegop
(4) LIFT your voice and speak out against injustice
(5) LEND your time and energy to the cause
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.—Galatians 3:28