A lesson on how we make choices
I don't like Tom Brady. Same is true of Pete Carroll. I've never met either of them. Haven't read their biographies. I have no idea if they are fine family men or devout Christians...or not!
I have chosen my position on Pete Carroll for what seems like a good reason. He used to coach the USC Trojans, and they are arch rivals to my alma mater, UCLA. Not one person would criticize my decision on this. My Christian home is full of folks saying that the don't like this or that person for reasons pretty much along those lines.
For Tom Brady, the call is different. When helmeted, which is how we see him most of the time, he reminds me of some one or some group of people who are punks or bullies. I noticed in an interview the other day that he doesn't look like that when he doesn't have the helmet on. I doubt if I will change my opinion.
In teaching my clients how to do videos about their businesses or products, I commonly mention that our hope is that viewers will see them as looking like the uncle they liked. We commonly like or dislike someone because they simply remind us of someone we had strong feelings for in our past.
With those kinds of decisions dancing through our gut responses to people, is it any wonder that we end up disliking larger groups for similar little, stupid reasons. I know people right this minute who have prejudicial attitudes about Blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, Jews, Asians...need I go on.
So what do we do about it. The starting point would be to police our own attitudes. We may or may not be able to influence others by our words, but we certainly do by our actions. I grew up very prejudiced against Blacks. I now live in a majority black neighborhood that was that way when I moved in. My prejudice changed as I was fortunate enough to be in places where I needed to get to know African-Americans.
The human brain is designed to group things. We have almost no choice in the matter of creating stereotypes regarding everything in our life. Otherwise we'd have to have someone taste our food before we ate every day. We need to trust our food based on believing that our stereotype is correct about that food is that it is safe. The stereotype in this case leads to prejudice. I eat certain foods and reject others based on my experience.
As Christians, it is our call to love everyone. We can't allow our stereotypes, even if true, to turn into prejudices of groups. This will never happen automatically. It will take a decision, an ongoing decision, to overcome our gut response to human stereotyping, so that we can get past the facades and into the heart of the other.