Prejudiced - me?

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

I had never considered myself to be prejudiced. I grew up in a "melting pot," with many races living together in relative harmony, and I married someone of a different nationality. But at one point, I began to notice my dislike of a particular race. I had witnessed several unpleasant things done by "them," and I felt resentment toward the whole race.

It was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, though, as I realized I was harboring ugly, preconceived ideas about my fellow man. I no longer wanted to feel this way. I wanted to be a better Christian.

Recently I took a course at a local college. The first day of class, a young woman, one of "that" race, sat next to me. I squirmed. I felt indignant. I left feeling relieved I had not been forced to speak to her. But in my discomfort, I knew something had to change, and it had to be me. I had been rereading and considering the implications of the Beatitudes, and their practical message moved me to act. I decided that I would speak to her, and that I would be kind and mean it.

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She responded warmly, but shyly and with relief. My heart melted as she told me she came to this country to attend college. I admired her for the courage it took to leave her faraway homeland, and for taking college courses even though she knew little English. She said she had hated taking art classes back home because her fellow classmates had been critical, even cruel. I was so grateful that I had been impelled to be kind.

The Beatitudes are the heart and soul of Christianity. They tell us not only what our attitude should "Be," but they also tell us what we cannot help but "Be." It is our God-given nature to be merciful, meek, and pure - to be peacemakers; and it's actually unnatural to be unkind, to hate.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and founder of this newspaper, came to a fuller understanding of what it means in the Bible that each of us is made in the very image and likeness of God, Spirit. She states in her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry" (pg. 63). No racial exceptions. She explains in many wonderful ways that God is good and that each of God's children is spiritual and good.

God's creation is colorful, but He does not see us as having black, red, yellow, or white skin. He sees us as good, pure, honest, and loving, and as expressing these qualities in an infinite variety of ways. Different kinds of flowers thrive side by side, derived from the same soil, warmed by the same sun, nourished by the same gentle rain. They exist in harmony in the same garden. And because God is the source, or creator - the Father and Mother of each of us - we must be brothers and sisters, members of the same family.

This classmate's talented, intelligent, meek nature blessed me; and I have never since been tempted to look upon her race in a negative way. It was a simple and natural choice, really, to love my sister.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Matthew 5:3-12

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