I took a test recently that showed I was biased towards patients from the Middle East and prejudiced against those from North America — specifically the Northeast.
“That’s ridiculous!” I thought. I am one – how can I be prejudiced against myself, against my family, against all my white American friends? But the way I answered the questions was overwhelmingly in favor of the final result.
When I look in the mirror, prejudice looks back at me.
I will forgive someone from the Middle East almost anything and people who were born and raised in America have to work to earn my trust and respect. And I realize that this is what I rail against in other people. It’s prejudice. It is treating one as valuable and the other as not. It is believing that one can do no wrong, while the other has all sorts of flaws that are irreconcilable.
When prejudice looks back at you from the mirror it’s ugly, and the face that looked back at me had prejudice written all over it.
But there was more that I caught sight of in that mirror, mirror on the wall.
Because she was there again with that slightly scoffing look on her face. I vacillate between wanting to kill her, being completely ashamed of her, and worst of all – being just a tad proud of her.
‘She’ was the pharisee I see in the mirror. The one who judges silently even as she extends a hand to the one in need. The one who thinks she’s better than others.
What do you do when what looks back at you from the mirror is so in need of an attitude change, a cleansing of the heart?
I fall on my knees and pray the ‘Jesus Prayer’ “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me, A Sinner”. And I go forward in Grace with a prayer on my lips that the power of the cross to transform can redeem and radically change that person looking back at me from the mirror.
Because that’s the Gospel message that I believe and proclaim with all my heart.