By its very nature, prejudice is pre-judging things without due cause and certainly against wisdom. To hold a prejudice of any sort is the admission of ignorance which is arrogance or, otherwise, pride.
Just knowing this is a great wisdom because our awareness is piqued every now and again as we’re tempted into prejudice, and then we have the choice to back out of that thought and the associated behaviours that go with it.
The more we practice it, the more we’ll achieve it.
Prejudice leads nowhere but to the dark abyss of lies and contempt of humanity, and certainly of God. Indeed, God might find it contemptible but we, in our prejudice, hold God in contempt and never would there perhaps be a worse blasphemy.
Judging prematurely is never a good thing.
Dealing with a Propensity to Pre-Judge
Why we have prejudices—and we can suppose all of us are prone to them—we do not know, other than they’re a feature of how we, ourselves, were brought up.
It could be easy to say the best way to ward against prejudice would be to see things the way that God sees them. But then the question might be, “How do we do that?” It gets us no closer if we don’t have a good frame on God to begin with.
Some Practical Steps
There must first be a willingness to not pre-judge.
Secondly, there must be a commitment to change. This is an important thing for almost everyone. To become wiser we need to be both diligent and prudent, personally and interpersonally. So, prudence is all about reserving judgment. It’s not an easy thing to learn, but over the years, with desire to change, we do grow more prudent, which is to be more discreet, patient and knowledgeable.
Thirdly, there is the issue of looking for feedback, which is acting on both verbal and non-verbal feedback—or ‘cues’—regarding others’ responses to our speech and behaviour. By far and away the best means to learn how well we’re interacting with most things in our world is through the reliable feedback of trusted others. Then our role is to simply listen with a humble heart i.e. one that’s ready to listen and heed the words that are spoken.
Fourthly, we don’t give up. We remain committed. And we also try to mould our hearts in the positive virtues of trust, empathy, compassion and respect—all these aimed squarely for others’ benefit.
Could There Be a Better Goal?
Wisdom is a chief plan for life. This goal of withholding our prejudices is both noble and right. We ask God and he gives us more wisdom without reservation (James 1:5).
If this could be the very best thing in life to acquire, and it’s free, what’s holding us back?
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.