Day by day, God seems to be breaking me and moulding me… He is breaking down all my prejudices one at a time (ya, I never realised how prejudiced I was…) surprising me with revelation after revelation as to how prejudiced I still am! How blindly we think we aren’t prejudiced! Our cultures, our worldviews, our education, our experiences all condition us to think in a particular way and act accordingly.
We have created value systems that often contradict God’s Word. In fact we have our lists of criteria for choosing – whether it be choosing a career, a house, education path let alone a life partner. We become so rigid with our lists, that we often restrict God to move outside the box and work in mysterious ways. We limit God due to our prejudices.
While growing up, I somehow developed values that I thought were about loyalty. I was a Jaffna Tamil and any partner I would consider needed to be Jaffna Tamil. Indian Tamil wouldn’t do. Then of course I had my ‘values’ which now I realise thanks to God convicting me were nothing but prejudices, They were nothing but thinking inside the box. I had stereotyped other ethnicities despite the recurring experiences in broken relationships with my own kind. In fact I’m embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t stereotyped our own kind as I was loyal to not only my country of birth but moreover place of birth. I had it all figured out (well that’s what I thought anyway!) – what I wanted in a partner… the faith, the age gap, the level of education, the ethnicity…. It was all clearly defined.
As years go by, God has allowed me to go through various experiences of rejection, rejection that was founded on appearances; not based on reality. Through this He has shown me the pain involved. Then He began to reveal to me one step at a time, how sinful I am on the count of various prejudices…. In fact He showed me that my criteria list for a partner was also nothing but prejudices. In fact He showed me that I had missed out on His best plan for me due to my prejudices… Ouch!
He knows who is best for us, what is best for us and how it’s best for us – but we are often making plans for our lives based on what WE think is best for us looking through our coloured lenses conditioned by our cultural values & scientific teachings instead.
How does it make you feel when you read the following controversial biblical examples?
- Hosea was led to marry an adulterous woman and have children by her.
- Samson married Delilah through which the Philistines were dealt with by God.
- Tamar had waited many years for her late husband’s youngest brother to grow up so that she could marry him and preserve the family line. Of course, Judah cheated her in fear that he would also die upon marrying her. That’s a different story. Tamar did take place in the list of the genealogy of Jesus Christ!
- Rahab was a prostitute and her faith was credited as righteousness. She also took a place on the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
- Sarah had Isaac when she was 91 years old…
Of course, when I first read these examples I cringed. I wondered how God could allow such “inappropriate” things. I even remember reading Derek Prince’s autobiography co-authored with his second wife Ruth. He was my favourite author at the time but I couldn’t comprehend, let alone, accept the choice of his first wife given the fact that she was 2 decades his senior. It didn’t matter to me that he was sharing the testimony as to how God had led them to each other. It was controversial as far as I was concerned, and thus unacceptable.
However the more I grow in the Lord and the more I experience His unconditional love, I realise He doesn’t look at the appearances let alone see things the way we see things. Yes, He calls us to holiness as He is holy. No doubt about that. However the way we view “holy” is once again based on appearances, rather than what God is calling us to do. The above examples challenge my worldview.
I think of David who had already been anointed way before he actually became king. David faltered big time – from failing in his duty as a king, to looking at a married woman, to committing adultery, scheming and finally murder. However David repented over time and God called him a man after his own heart.
I also think of the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus crossed all the taboos of the culture to speak with her… Jew to a Samaritan, male to a female, to an outcast, and that at the time of day that a Jew should be eating… How often do we label this woman as ‘sinful’? Did Jesus tell her to leave her sinful life? Why did Jesus speak to this particular woman out of that entire village? Often a man would divorce his wife if she was barren (and thus Moses spoke law against divorce to protect innocent women). However a woman needed to have a male guardian to survive. Hypothetically speaking, what if she was an orphan? Perhaps she married one man after the other hoping for a male guardian but her barrenness obviously didn’t change and thus perhaps they all divorced her. Finally she may have thought living with a man will bring her the security as he wouldn’t expect babies from her. This may have not been the real scenario – but it is a great possibility. She may have been crying inside all along. Jesus saw her heart whichever way it was… and saw her brokenness. It’s not always the way we think. Jesus stood up for her.
- Are you willing to cross boundaries and stand up in obedience to God?
- Or are you trying to conform to societal / family expectations in order to be accepted by everyone?
Throughout all these “controversies” God’s name was glorified and His purpose fulfilled. They were controversies as far as we are concerned – based on our limited earthly wisdom. However were they controversies in the Creator’s sight? How much are our value systems conditioned by cultural values and how much are they based on surrendering to God’s way? Has not God wired each one of us uniquely? Does He not know us more than we know ourselves?
Let’s think outside the box and let God move mightily so His will prevails and His plan fulfilled!