by Tony Nester

The Root of Prejudice
Tony Nester
Mark 7:1-8

"If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can overlook it when something goes wrong through no fault of yours and those you love take it out on you,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion or politics,
Then, my friends, you are almost as good as your dog" - so wrote Ann Landers in one of her newspaper columns.

Animals are free of prejudice, but not us. Animals don't pretend, but we do. Animals are not hypocritical, we human nature often is. That's because we're animals with souls, with politics, and with religion. We are susceptible to prejudice.

Jesus gives us one of the chief signs that prejudice is at work. He points to the way that our lips become disconnected from our hearts. Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah who declared:
"Thus says the LORD: this people honors me with their lips but their hearts are far from me."

I want to talk with you this morning about the damage that takes place when our lips are disconnected from our hearts - when prejudice invades our lives.
Jesus launched those words at the Pharisees who were criticizing Jesus' disciples for not upholding the ritual of hand washing as prescribed Jewish tradition - referred to in the text as the Tradition of the Elders.

This tradition taught that before you prepared and ate your meal ...

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