I admit i became prejudiced to a whole neighborhood by a three second view on the side walk, as i was driving by.
it has been years now but the sight has stayed with me. A Spanish looking guy had a small dog, by the back of its neck, in his mouth, he was shaking the animal. I was horrified, Is this how he disciplines his dog? how does he act to a child that spills milk or a “live in” that burns the toast.
I have stereotyped the guy, his nationality and his neighborhood. In that instance I judged everyone on manor street and every one that looked Spanish. I entered into the most common of sins, my self over another human and looking down on some one not up to my standards.
last Sunday our church moved. To the corner of manor and king streets. the very edge of the neighbor hood this drive by view of mine occurred.
I was doing security . which means I was on the side walk the whole time , giving the people inside a sense of security for them selves and children in our nursery. as well as showing any one interested in looking we do have a presence now.
As I was greeting people walking by and noticing the types of peoples living around, Black, Spanish and Napalies walked by. singles and all sorts, of economic and social types. Good morning by me was always met with a good morning back, and a smile.
I was feeling the need to repent of my sin, yet again.
stereotyping is not right. nor is shacking an animal from your mouth. But to knock a whole group of people by one 3 second viewed act is not right.
Since i witnessed this act I have moved into the city to live. I have seen the unfamiliar become familiar. The unknown become known. When we only hear of shootings and robbery we stereotype a whole section or “the city” vs “the country”.
I’ve come to realize each neighborhood has real people, some refugees fleeing oppression, some single moms starting out again, some aged people spending their last days on the planet. Lots of children feeling young. lots of fatherless wishing for an adult man in their lives. Couples starting out life together.
We fear the unknown, especially in the city. Because we don’t know where safe is. That’s mainly because safe is equated with familiarity, not reality. Safe, for some is knowing there is a good element in everyone. safe for me is not that. For me to feel safe is knowing there is a God who has stamped a blessing on every human being. Safe is knowing not a hair on my head, nor a sparrow falling goes unnoticed. safe is knowing every human, especially me, has a bent toward self destruction and crime.
By God’s grace , safety is only realized. I am not responsible for executing judgment on improper acts i see. I am responsible to step in to protect someone, if in my power, to do so. Or to call a police man when some one, or someones property is being threatened. But justice is from God. And its He who give out vengeance, not I.
I have been watching victories happen in the city. In peoples lives. Victory over addictions to drugs, alcohol and lust. I have seen the gospel take root in the must unconventional ways. I’ve seen people fall, yet get restored to a forgiving Father.
And now the introspection: what have peopled witnessed me do in a 3 second span? Steering wheel abuse? ( yelling at, punching and banging) A slamming the front door shut in a heated moment, a mean hurting look or response?