Why should we even be bothered by stereotypes? First, for better or worse, in one way or another, we all think in stereotypes and are stereotyped by others. But it’s important – most of all – because we Christians are called to be disciples, to try to live as Jesus lived. Open the New Testament to just about any spot and you will find there vivid stories about Jesus, probably the best stereotype-breaker that human history has ever known. This is the Jesus who challenges popular stereotypes about foreigners, about true holiness, about the real nature of sin. Think about his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well and his story of the Good Samaritan. Think about why he upset the smug self-assurance of the Pharisees. And think of how he obliterated the biggest stereotype of all: that the Messiah who was to come needn’t wield political power or exercise military might.
This message is adapted from “Letting Out The Seams” by Mary Lynn Hendrickson that appeared in the May 1999 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.