A Warning against Stereotyping
Why is it so tempting to engage in stereotyping? With a little reflection on today’s reading (Proverbs 28-30) we can see that there are exceptions to the profiles we tend to develop. For example,
Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways. Proverbs 28:6 (ESV)
Rich people may be honest or deceptive. Poor people may be lazy or diligent. Although society tends to honor material success, God holds up the honest, hard-working poor as better than a wealthy swindler.
We stereotype because we resist thinking deeply about truth and reality. In the present atmosphere of my country, deep divisions and animosity rock us. These are often based on this dangerous practice of painting with a broad brush various categories of people based on ethnicity, political views, gender, religion, or socioeconomic status.
What can we do?
Christians are commanded to pray. Paul wrote:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 2:1-4 (ESV)
Pray for our national and local leaders. Pray that we will not fall prey to a simplistic way of seeing everything. Pray that God’s people will model wisdom and speak the truth in love.
[For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].