Overruling Cultural Biases - Ted Winsley

We often mask our fear by hating others, but there’s something deeper going on within. Racism is not a skin issue, it’s a sin issue. It always has been. How do we deal with the fear that causes us to treat people differently?


“So He [Jesus] left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. Now He had to go through Samaria.” —John 4:3-4


This whole chapter is about racism and sexism. You see, the Jews hated the Samaritans. Though they all came from Abraham, the Samaritans became disobedient — intermarrying with other people groups and adopting Greek mythology. Because of this, the Jews hated them so much they refused to talk to them or even travel through their region. If a Jew had to go to Galilee, he would go around Samaria. But that’s not what Jesus did.


In the same way, each of us needs to refuse to keep walking around our problems. Our spiritual responsibility should always override our cultural connections. In between where you are now and where you need to go is a Samaria where there are people you think you hate or people who hate you. You will have to deal with the issue before you can get to the place you’re going. Even though Jesus is the Son of God, who was living in the body of a Jewish man, He represented the Kingdom, which overruled any cultural bias. Whether you’re black, white, hispanic, or asian, as creations of God, we will always have more in common than what separates us.


“So He came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as He was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give Me a drink?’” —John 4:5-8


Jesus went to the well, not because He was thirsty, but because it was a place of common ground. The woman He encountered was shocked yet intrigued. His question pulled her in. She knew He should hate her — she’s a woman, He’s a man; she’s a Samaritan, He’s a Jew. This man asked her to help Him? Jesus put Himself in a position of humility and vulnerability. He didn’t stop being who He was in order to reach someone. He took His humanity and placed it under the King.


“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’” —John 4:13-15


Love crosses all racial, gender and social boundaries in order to reach the real need. Love brings to light the real issue and offers the only solution! When the Kingdom and the King become the centerpiece, they override all else.


“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony…And because of His words many more became believers. They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.’” —John 4:39-42


Jesus wasn’t going to walk around the issue, He faced it head-on. As a result, many Samaritans believed in Him. Jesus hung out with people who were unlike Him. God created us all to be different in flesh but one by the Spirit, all designed to seek and find God. God loved creating diversity! Our diversity shows that there is a Creator.


When you see the Mona Lisa, there’s no way you will doubt that there was a brilliant creator behind the work. It’s intelligent, beautiful and intentionally designed. In the same way, when we see different ethnicities and cultures, we know there has to be a Creator God!


When you interact with people who are different than you are, it challenges you. You don’t have to try to be someone you’re not. Jesus didn’t stop being Jewish, instead, God used that aspect of His person so others could see His unbiased love! He was a Jew who broke the rules. We too should go out of our way to be inclusive toward others. If we don’t, our personal preference may turn into a personal prejudice. If we constantly try to stay on planet “Me,” we will become racist. We’ll develop a perspective based on our own preferences.


Our focus should be fixed on the King who made us all as one — the King who wants us all to come to Him to know His perfect, unbiased and unconditional love.


—Pastor Ted Winsley, chaplain of the Philadelphia Eagles


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