Are Misconceptions Making You Prejudiced?

Hey, you know whats’s a fun thing to have in your house?

Lice.

That’s right. I said lice.

Last year, a few days after returning to school from Christmas break, Vivienne came home with lice. It was horrible. Especially since she also gave it to me.

Thanks for sharing, sweet girl.

Do you know how much work it takes to get rid of lice in your house? First you have to treat the infested hair. Thankfully, there is a lice clinic not far from our house and they were able to rid our hair of the little lice monsters.

(On a sidenote: have you ever heard of a lice clinic? Apparently they are a thing. So weird…)

After treating your hair, you then have to wash all the sheets, stuffed animals, hair bows, blankets, pillows. Everything. You also have to vacuum all the carpets and furniture.

It is a huge undertaking and not one that I would wish on my worst enemy. I threw lots of things away, which was a good excuse for getting rid of some old toys.

As part of our hair treatment, Vivienne and I had to wear plastic caps over our hair until the entire house was free of these meddlesome bugs. I’m sure we looked lovely.

A few months after our lice experience, Peter had surgery, and Vivienne went with us to the surgical center. One of the surgeons came out in his surgery attire – scrubs, gloves, mask. And a cap.

Vivienne’s first (very loud) response was this:

“Well, I guess he has lice too.”

Talk about embarrassing.

Misconceptions happen all too often in life.

We can mistake someone’s intentionally humorous text for an insult.

We can mistake someone’s showing up late for an appointment as being rude.

We can mistake someone’s facial expression as hatred and disdain.

A simple action by a friend or stranger can be misinterpreted as a personal attack.

One day, not long after Vivienne’s delightful lice comment, the little kids and I were at the library. We had arrived early so the doors weren’t yet unlocked. We sat down at a picnic table to wait for the library to open, and soon we were joined by a middle aged black man.

I wasn’t sure how my children would react to this man sharing a seat with us, not because of the color of his skin but because he was a stranger.

Before I could say anything, however, Jonah looked over at the gentlemen.

“Hi!” he said. “Wanna hear a joke?”

Then he and the man proceeded to share jokes with each other until the library opened.

It was a lovely, encouraging moment watching Jonah interact with this stranger. There were no pretenses or misconceptions. No fears or prejudices. Just two people hanging out, enjoying each other’s company.

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It is only natural to be afraid of people or things that are different from us. But when we misjudge people and situations, we are unable to see the good in them. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt. To understand how their past has influenced their present.

As I searched the Word of God, I found many scriptures that address the topic of misconceptions and prejudices. I want to share some with you today so we can learn from His Word, particularly during this season of divisiveness we are encountering in our country.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32

“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”    Luke 6:31

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”    1 John 4:20-21

“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles…”   Proverbs 24:17

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”    Romans 12:18

I will end with one of my favorite passages of scripture. As you go about your day, let’s meditate on all of these scriptures as we strive to put aside our misgivings and fears and instead show love to those who may be different than us.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”    1 Cor 13:4-8

 

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