Lesson #49: Discrimination

Define discrimination: treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit

Where do we see this in the Bible? Israelites were viewed as inferior compared to Pharaoh’s people. Christ followers were often judged and viewed as not knowing the Bible enough. Tax collectors were viewed as liars and thieves. Prostitutes were viewed as trash. 

Talk about Moses and the Israelites: Who knows the story of Moses, the Israelites and Pharaoh? Let’s read Exodus 5:1-23 to find out more on this. What is this passage saying has happened between Israelites and Pharaoh? Pharoah becomes power hungry. He wanted to grow the kingdom and expand it. He enslaved Israelites to help build his kingdom. Pharaoh was told to let Moses’s people, the Israelites, go and leave Egypt for three days so that they can celebrate and hold a festival for three days and make sacrifices to God. Pharaoh was more concerned about them making their quota and decided to turn down their request. Pharoah directed them to keep working and Moses mentioned that he will be judged by God for his unfair way of treating them. Moses then spoke with God. 

Ask about examples in life: Have you ever been treated unfairly, either at work or at home? Why is it sometimes difficult to stand up for yourself and voice your concerns at work? You fear that your job is on the line. Here, the Israelites’ lives were on the line. Moses was taking a risk in telling Pharaoh that it was unfair for him to tell him that the Israelites could not go to the festival. Moses could have been killed on the spot. 

Ask about examples in life: What are some examples of experiencing discrimination at work, school, at home, or out in your community? In work, at school, or at home, or out in our community do we have someone to turn to when we are getting judged unfairly or getting taken advantage of? Luckily HR exists at work as a middle-man to potentially help address any issues between coworkers. 

Ask about Christians doing you wrong: What should you do if a brother or sister in Christ is doing you wrong? 

Read Matthew 18:15-17. 

Read Exodus 6:1-12. What does God say to Moses. Basically, “I see how they have been treating you and I will take you away from the power and “yoke” of the Egyptians. There appears to be a correlation between the amount of power and the potential for discrimination towards others. According to the story of faith, this may be a truth: The more power and position we have, the more likely we are to discriminate against others.

Who here has experienced discrimination?

Talk about discrimination in the Bible: Here’s an example of discrimination in the Bible: Read James 2:2-4 

Ask about getting treated unfairly: Have you ever worked under a boss that treated you unfairly? Do you have an example of anybody treating you unfairly because you were different?

Ask about past examples of discrimination: Is there a clear example of this in the last 100 years? Yes. Hitler was convinced that the Jews were responsible for their defeat in WWI and their economic crisis that Germany suffered through. Jews were the “scapegoat” or the entity that is blamed rather than taking full responsibility. He developed the Mein Kampf, which argued that humans should be divided into categories based on physical appearance, establishing higher and lower orders, or types of humans. At the top is the Germaic man with his fair skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. He referred to this race as the Aryan race. He asserts that the Aryan is the supreme form of human, or master. This leaves room for discrimination and scapegoating. With the amount of power he had, he used his beliefs to influence political, religious, and moral structure. With power comes much responsibility and there is potential for so much harm if power is utilized selfishly and lustfully. 

Talk about Jesus and discrimination: What did Jesus do when he was faced with discrimination?

Read John 8:1-8. He often used scripture and truth. Would you all agree that everyone makes mistakes and everyone sins? Do you think the Pharisees believed this as well? He used this common belief to debunk the Pharisees common false religious beliefs. 

Talk about Pharisees’ beliefs: What were some of these warped religious beliefs that they all thought from time to time? They somewhat believed that God favored them if they keep an outward appearance of Biblical knowledge and uprightness. Jesus helped them expose their imperfect nature, including their hypocrisy, in which their outwardly presented Biblical knowledge of right and wrong did not reflect their inward judgemental and self-righteous attitude. Power was position in this era and the Pharisees became blinded by truth due to them being immersed in their status as a Pharisee.

Ask about Pharisees: What is a Pharisee anyway? The Pharisees emerged as a distinct group shortly after the Maccabean revolt, about 165-160 BCE; they were, it is generally believed, spiritual descendants of the Hasideans. The Pharisees emerged as a party of laymen and scribes in contradistinction to the Sadducees (i.e. the party of the high priesthood that had traditionally provided sole leadership to the Jewish people). Back in those days, certain people were assigned to interpret and teach the Bible to the people. They generally had much power over the general population and many of them were known to abuse their power and interpret scripture the way they wanted to. As we can see, their is a theme of abuse in power and discrimination towards a specific group. 

Ask about current societal issues: What are some current societal issues with disrimination that are occurring?

Read Romans 12:17-21 

Through all, rely on the Lord. 

Read Galatians 3:28: We are all one with God. It ultimately does not matter who you are, how much power you think you have, or the color of your skin. We are all one in Christ. 

Also, remember this: Psalm 62: 9-11

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