Have you ever experienced prejudices? Have you ever been prejudice toward others? I think if we are honest the answer would have to be yes to both questions. Oh, we might not have been mean, but none the less we all have had times when we were afraid of something or someone who was different from we are.
As many of you may already know I was married to a man born and reared in Hong Kong, he is Chinese. I met him in Hong Kong many years ago while it was still under British rule. I remember so vividly meeting his family for the first time. His Dad was a strong and friendly fellow who drove a double-decked bus for a living. You know the kind, red and British looking…he was kind to me but he had some pretty strong opinions about Americans.
While visiting family and doing missionary work in Hong Kong in 1977, I went to the open market together with my Father-in-law, Mother-in-law and Grandmother-in-law and we were there to look for some fabric for me to have a dress made. My Father-in-law also wanted to purchase some fabric for a shirt for my Dad. I had told them that my Mom liked to sew and often made shirts for my Dad. The fabric that my Father-in-law gravitated toward was material he had seen many American men wearing on his bus route. You see, his bus route encompassed many areas where tourists loved to go and that is the type of American man he encountered. He had also driven many young American soldiers who had come to Hong Kong for Rest and Recreations (R&R) during the Vietnam War. He was sure that he knew what my Dad would love in a shirt. I still have the piece of fabric that he purchased and sent back as a gift to my Dad.
I brought the gift from my Father-in-law to my Dad and presented it politely. My Dad opened the piece of fabric out a few yards and just stared at it. My Mom looked amused and asked me if I was sure this was for my Dad for a shirt. I grinned and said that it was, unless he wanted to make Bermuda shorts from it. My Dad was still speechless. Mom commented on how soft the material was and how comfortable it would be to wear as a shirt or shorts. My Dad looked at my Mom with a rather sour look on his face. My Mom cracked up laughing and said, “I’m sorry Homer, I just can’t hold it any longer thinking of how dashing you would look wearing such a fine shirt!” We all cracked up laughing. You see, the design on the fabric was a wild and colorful material that would make a wonderful tourist Hawaiian shirt!
My Father-in-law had a prejudicial idea that all American men dressed like the ones he saw in Hong Kong…tourists that had been to Hawaii first before coming to Hong Kong! Of course he was wrong. My Dad wouldn’t have been caught dead in such a shirt as he would have been made fun of by all the guys he knew!
Many years later my Father-in-law and my Dad met face to face and spent some time together. Of course they couldn’t speak the same language, but they both recognized that they had been wrong on the assumptions they had about each other. My Dad actually liked my Father-in-law and I do believe that my Father-in-law liked my Dad. They have both passed away now but I like to think that they will have some wonderful conversations in heaven, where all cultural and language barriers will be broken. They both loved Jesus and the blood of Christ united them even though on earth they were from different parts of the world.
We all have prejudices to overcome while we live on this earth. It is unfortunate that some people in our world choose to use differences as barriers to hide behind. The truth is no matter what our color or gender or religious and spiritual beliefs or where we live or what food we eat there is one thing we all have in common…..our blood bleeds red. Christ’s blood was shed for all people’s from all times and generations so that we can have a way to salvation. Many will never understand or accept the free gift of salvation, but I am so thankful that two old men from opposite ends of the world accepted Christ as their Savior and will spend eternity together. I look forward to joining them. I hope you will be there too.
Until next time……Katherine