Saturday 13 August 2022

Bible Book:

Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I must bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he takes my side and executes judgement for me. (vs 8-9)

Micah 7:8-20 Saturday 13 August 2022

Psalm 29


 I have a confession to make. It relates to racism.

Some years ago I was tutoring a group of students of mixed heritage. We had decided, as a group, that the students would take turns to lead the group. We had mixed backgrounds, varied nationalities and languages. For some of the students English was their second or third language. I am white British, male with only English.

On one particular occasion a student from Madagascar led the session. He had French as his second language. He was speaking in English, but it was difficult. A black African student, asked that we pause. We did. He asked me if it might help if the Malagasy student were to speak in French which he could translate into English. The Malagasy student declined. He wanted to improve his English. We all concurred with this. No problem.

 But there was a problem. That was me. Well not exactly me, but my feelings. I wasn’t sure if anyone had noticed, but when the offer of French translation was made I felt a flicker of surprise, my surprise. I simply hadn’t expected that offer. Even if no one else picked it up I knew why, and I felt guilty. The reason? Though I wouldn’t see myself as racist, at that point I hadn’t expected a student, a black student, to be able to facilitate that translation. However subliminally, however unintentionally, I discovered I could be racist, prejudiced.

Summing up at the end of the session I shared this feeling with the rest of the group and I apologised. They were wonderfully gracious, accepted the apology and a relationship had been forged rather than broken.

I didn’t know this passage from Micah at that time. Reading it now, I sense something of the same self-awareness in the prophet. I needed to learn his lesson. When we stand in judgment we need to understand our own biases, our own capacity to fail in just the same way as we are suggesting others fail. As Micah said: "I must bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him…" (v. 9)


To Ponder:

  • What is the difference between a fair and an unfair judgment?
  • What can make us biased in our relationships with others?
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