A few years ago I spent the morning at an old lady’s house waiting for the doctor to make a house-call.
Eventually the door bell rang and standing there was a young man in his late twenties wearing yellow jeans, a tartan style red shirt with no tie, and a sports jacket.
“I’m doctor Grange,” said he.
I let him in without a word and the old lady said: “You’re not Doctor Stuart; he’s my doctor you know!”
“Doctor Stuart is away, I’m new with the medical practice,” replied the young man as I left the room to give them some privacy.
As I waited in the hall I thought about this young man and, I must confess, I took an instant dislike to him. A doctor in jeans, indeed! And so young, what can he possibly know about medicine; he’s probably hardly ever practiced, still in diapers and just out of school.
Then it occurred to me. A light bulb switched on within my head and a message flashed in huge letters.
What a terrible thing prejudice is.
Just because he is young doesn’t make him a bad doctor. He’s probably the best qualified from his University and since he must have recently entered into practice his knowledge must be really up to date. Unlike an older doctor perhaps. (More prejudice.)
And so what if he’s wearing jeans? He’s probably off-duty and was advised by his practice to visit this old lady in the absence of her regular doctor. He obviously doesn’t attend work dressed like that.
You know, it’s human nature to be prejudiced. We all have our likes and dislikes and we react differently to peoples’ appearances, attire, age, accents, and the multitude of other feelings we have towards each other.
We’d do well to be aware of this part of our human nature and learn to keep it under control.
When Jesus walked this earth, He must have met many poor people whose clothes were dirty and torn. Lepers too, as well as prostitutes and evil-doers of all kinds. He didn’t use our prejudices in order to avoid them and judge them.
Instead, He used pity, compassion and love to help them to a better life. Yet we, especially the Christian ones amongst us, still hold some prejudices if we are honest with ourselves and with our God to even admit it. I did not know I was prejudiced until I met Doctor Grange. Although I'll admit to something else ...
Also a while back, years ago, I had to visit a computer shop about something or other to do with my laptop. The assistant had a tattoo on his neck. Somehow this raised all sorts of prejudices in me. For all I know this man was probably the most talented computer expert in the world, he was probably a Christian like me, (what a poor example I was), he probably donated money to charity or visited the poor in soup kitchens, or the old or the sick in hospital. But that tattoo on his neck became an obstacle in my mind between me and him. Actually ... he fixed the laptop for me in a few minutes ... and did not charge me for it because he said it was a small job!
Anyway ... back to the doctor ... A few days later I had reason to take the same elderly lady to the doctor's; and I met Doctor Grange again.
Although it was a fairly warm day, Doctor Grange wore a suit and tie.
However, he had not aged much since the previous Wednesday.
I kept an eye on him to ensure he remedies the situation.
That incident made me think about myself. What are my other prejudices regarding people? Their accents, the way they dress, the fact they have beards? No ... can't be that. I have a beard myself. Having a beard makes a person look distinguished. Maybe my prejudice is that I don't like people with no beards? Maybe everyone should have a beard? Including women.
What do you think?