It has been said that prejudice is a learned behavior. If we don’t believe this, watch a group of young children. They are often immune from the stereotypes and assumptions that mark one child to the next. Instead, when they describe their friends, they use descriptive words with an innocence like tall/short; girl/boy; white/black/brown; brown hair/blond hair; etc. It is a world where willingness to engage another is the key to a budding friendship!
Through time, we become conditioned to view others in certain light. Most often, the prejudices that we perceive are quite false but nevertheless we cling to them. And they are told, and retold, to the detriment of the larger community and the world. In the midst of these realities, Paul floats an idea to the community in Galatia (a region rather than a city)—In Christ, we are one. He is taking apart a debate of the Jews who had converted to The Way and are saying that they have more right to the promise given to Abraham and being called the children of God.
Read Galatians 3:23-29. Paul takes three of the most tribal descriptors, and tries to erase these strong lines, and say that through Christ, we are now unified. One isn’t more deserving than another; instead, we are all equal in this community and a part of the grand story of God’s redeeming. The descriptor of Jew/Greek is no longer valid, for we have been invited into the unity of the Christ—where the Triune God (One God revealed in three persons- Father, Son, Spirit) dwells in unity, from eternity past to eternity future! If God can do it, so must we!
The true test of our faith is whether we can view our brothers and sisters as our equals. Can we love them, though they may differ from us, with the unconditional love of God? Can we move beyond the stereotypes we too quickly place on people to learn who they actually are? Can we live as one in Christ knowing that, if that is our starting point then, everything else is minor details?