In 1972 Richard Nixon surprised the United States and the world with his diplomatic initiative of going to China and opening up doors with that closed in nation. Nixon, the commie hunter. Nixon, the man who warned of the evil of communism all around us. Many stated that “only Nixon could go to China.” The meaning is clear: if any other president, especially one that seemed sympathetic to communism had opened the doors to China, there would be a lingering suspicion about motives and purpose. Sometimes people say and do things that are so out of character that it shocks us at first, but then, makes perfect sense.
Jesus often took trips to get away from others; to be alone with God. Sometimes I think it was too bad for Jesus that sunglasses hadn’t been invented yet. Anyways, Jesus was traveling in the north and stopped by a place in Tyre, hoping to be unrecognized and get some rest. Not much chance of that and before too long a woman from Tyre – Greek, born in Syria Phoenicia – came up to Him asking Jesus to heal her daughter from some demons. Jesus responded in a shocking way. “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” (Mark 7:27)
I don’t know about you, but every time I read this story I am completely befuddled! How could Jesus talk to someone like that? I am going to speculate on the reason, which is dangerous when related to Scripture, and see if maybe this will make as much sense as Nixon going to China. Jesus knew the hearts of those He dealt with as only God could know. In the story of the woman at the well, Jesus pierced the soul of the woman He was talking to by asking her to call her husband. She was convicted of her sin and recognized Jesus as the Messiah. What if, this woman with the spirit possessed daughter had used those same words relating to Jews – calling them dogs and not wanting to help them – in other conversations. What if Jesus was not exhibiting bias here, but was mirroring the bias the woman had shown? I could be wrong here, but that is the only way this sentence fits in with the character of Jesus as I understand Him. Her response showed that either she had humility, or had been humbled, and Jesus healed her daughter.
Bias is still a cancer on our society. Whether our hatred, and yes, I am using that strong a word, extends to people of different colors, genders, or those with different behavioral patterns, we must eliminate that bias. We are called to love the people that Jesus loves and we are allowed to hate the people that Jesus hates. If you have remembered any Bible verse in your life, you probably know about John 3:16 which pretty much limits the possibility of hate. Hate wickedness, sure. Hate evil, of course. Hate sin, no doubt. But the same Jesus who loved the people who crucified Him and called on the Father to forgive them, reminds us that we are to forgive those who practice wickedness, evil, and sin. When you look around the world you will see bias and prejudice in too many areas. When I look around my life, I recognize that as much as I seek to root it out, I still have my biases and prejudices. The only cure for that is the love of Jesus.
Lord God, Jesus died on the cross because You loved the whole world. You want to forgive all people and draw them to Yourself. I pray that I might reflect that love towards others. Remove the bias and prejudice from me and make me Your loving servant.