“But this was displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry… ‘Oh Lord…I knew You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.’…And the Lord said, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?” (Jonah 4:1-4)
As you apply the central truth in the Book of Jonah, ask yourself if you are prejudiced. To be prejudiced means to “pre-judge.” Prejudice comes in many shapes and sizes. I was introduced to prejudice as a boy growing up near Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) when I heard Italian Americans called “daggos” and Polish Americans called “hunkies.”
During my freshman year at a southern Bible college in the late 1940s, I was shocked to see “white” and “colored” water fountains and African Americans sitting in the back of buses. I was even more bewildered when I discovered “colored people” were not welcome in “white” churches.
As a new believer I was disillusioned when I heard professing believers use discriminatory labels. From what I learned preparing for the ministry, I expected followers of Christ and spiritual communities to be free from prejudice. As a believer now for more than 60 years and a pastor for more than five decades, I am still alarmed by the deceitful ways of the evil one when I discover prejudice in my heart and in the lives of other believers.
I learned from personal experience that prejudice feeds on ignorance. I grew up during the Second World War when propaganda presented Japanese as sub-human creatures. In my junior year at a Bible college in L.A., my roommate was a devout Japanese disciple of Jesus Christ. He was the most Christ-like and disciplined disciple of Jesus I had met at that point in my life. The experience of knowing him completely erased the cumulative impact of all that war propaganda from my mind. Until I met my roommate, I had never met a Japanese person before. My prejudice was fed by ignorance.
Most prejudice is fed by ignorance.
Examine your heart before God and ask yourself if you have prejudice that is blocking the love God wants to channel through you to lost and hurting people in this world.
Dick Woodward, Jonah Coming & Going: True Confessions of a Prophet