English PeaceNews October 2017 Edition
Prejudice is a learned trait. You’re not born prejudiced; you’re taught it. (Charles R. Swindoll)
Prejudices are errors born of ignorance, self-absorption, resentment, and fear—all stances incompatible with the active love of neighbor enjoined on Muslims and Christians alike by their common God. (Miroslav Volf, Allah: A Christian Response, 203)
Interpersonal and intergroup relationship is dynamic. There are various factors that influence a relationship, both internal and external. Every people has different life experience, character, the way of thinking and feeling, personality, worldview, knowledge, values, vision, life mission, faith and believe that all of them will influence the way they build and respond to a relationship. One of the biggest challenges in building a good, strong, and peaceful relationship – both in personal and group level – is prejudice, stereotype, or negative thinking toward others.
The problem of negative thinking and prejudice is the problem that links the problem with self and others. When we can solve our prejudices, we will peace with self as well as with others. Therefore solving prejudices is very important and crucial in peacebuilding.
The Bible (Philippians 4: 8-9) gives strong command that we have to fill our mind with good/ positive things,
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
As our sinful world, human being naturally we are very easy to have negative thinking towards others. Therefore to change negative to positive thinking often take some efforts and hard-works. Moreover when it comes to a group sentiment. One of the solutions, we have to intentionally fill our mind with God’s Word. God’s Word is a nutrition for our mind and heart that makes us able to think positively. As what Volf says that in relationship between Muslims and Christians, having prejudices is not incompatible with the principle of loving neighbor that also commanded by the both Holy Books. The more we are saturated in the Word of God, the prejudices and negative thinking will be reduced. The truth is we have to remove negative thinking by replacing it with the positive one. As peacemakers, let us never get bored to fill our mind and heart with God’s Word. Let the power of God change our mind. Let God’s love fill our heart to love our neighbor.
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