To stigmatize someone is to mark them as disgraceful or contemptible in some manner. To mark in a negative manner is to brand, to make an end judgment, to deem as unworthy or below oneself. This is something we humans do that is usually an inaccurate assessment of one’s whole person. The picture above is me in the 1970's. Hippie Teri. Now there were some interesting viewpoints of hippies from back then. :)
Humans are a unique creation of God’s. We have a capacity to be a vessel for either good or bad, and also for both. Thus, judgments and perceptions must be fluid in that we know that people can change directions or go deeper in the direction they are in. We cannot see that deeply into a person’s heart even though some people are more adept at perceiving where a person is at in the present.
Sometimes I wonder how God manages to stay compassionate to those who stray far from His amazing love in how we treat others. And then there is Genesis 6:17.
For behold, I, even I, will bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy all life under the heavens in which there is the breath and spirit of life; everything that is on the land shall die.
The hatred, contempt, fear and pain in human’s hearts and experiences of life must have just been too much for God to handle or to see, after creating humanity with so much hope for grander things. It is interesting that God says, “I even I”. In both the English and the Hebrew it looks like God is even dismayed with Himself. In Hebrew, “I, even me”. God’s judgment was correct but even then God’s amazing love led Him to determine to find another way to lead mankind toward redemption. Four hundred years after the flood came Abraham who was to be the progenitor of God’s people. Out of the faith of Abraham was born a deep and intimate relationship with God bringing forth the Torah and eventually bringing forth the Messiah to the entire world.
Today we have racism and misogyny as the great universal dividers of humanity. The unimaginable wickedness that is born of this stigmatizing of national differences and gender differences must be painful beyond our understanding to the heart of God.
I just watched a tape of former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard in 2012. She was addressing some proposition being put forward by a member of their parliament (?). The proposition was openly misogynistic and she addressed many of the instances of this attitude in the members present, which was an incredibly brave thing to do. Because of her speech to which the majority said, “hear hear”, the Macquarie Dictionary of Australia adjusted its definition of misogyny to include, “entrenched prejudice of women”. To say I am shocked is an understatement. The hatred of determined misogyny is deeply ugly in so many ways. I think I understand just a pinch of why God said, “I, even I” am going to do this thing (cause a flood to wipe mankind off the earth) because I am overwhelmed with the darkness of heart that mankind has come to with misogyny and racism.
Those are the big ways we brand people we have chosen to elevate ourselves above. We make their very humanity as less than ours because we brand things that cannot be changed, such as gender and nationality (skin color, body shapes, etc.) as less desirable. And when we do that we lead the way to degenerate treatment, cruelties beyond normal thinking, tortures, limiting life styles, etc.
We also brand small things as reason for rejection such as religion, careers, life styles, social status, wealth, political choices, health, and intelligence and so forth to an unending list. To say that arrogance and criticalness have infiltrated humanity and the church to a huge degree is an understatement.
Why do we do this? I have concluded that the biggest reason is because we do not know or understand God’s LOVE. And since I am speaking to the international body of Christ, believers in Jesus as Lord and Messiah, I believe that it is our fault that we have allowed these stigmatizing sins to run rampant in the world without any noticeable check. And yes, that includes me.
We who know the intimate deep love of God toward all, without racism or misogyny, need to speak up. It is time. We will be castigated for it and called many ugly names, no doubt. But if you believe and know God does not segregate, brand or limit people through racism or gender stereotyping, I believe that gift was given for us to share with patience, compassion, forgiveness and diligence. And I sincerely hope that more people will stand up and stand against this international condition of a lack of God’s Love.
Let us read the Bible with prayer and share the truths of God’s healing, deliverance, and freedom to live with all who will hear us. And let us start today.