What Message Can Jesus Offer Us About Discrimination?

Recently I posted a Dalai Lama inspired definition for discrimination. With the passing of Easter, the most significant celebration in the Christian calendar I thought I would comment on the actions of Jesus, as one who could be said to have embraced all people equally in a society that did not.

This is not a religious article but more a comment on a person who had the ability to see people as human before their sub category. If I was to use the legal definition of discrimination then the Samaritan Woman at the well was treated less favourably by others in her community because she was a Samaritan-(race/religion), a woman (gender) and having had multiple husbands (marital status) and yet Jesus spoke to her as an equal. There was a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years and ostracised because of this (disability discrimination) and when she touched his cloak believing this would heal her, he stopped, noticed and spoke kindly to her. When a ‘sinful ‘ woman (discrimination based on sexual activity and probably gender) anointed his feet with perfume he acknowledged the gift of her actions. In all of these encounters and so many more I see a Jesus who sees the person before the problem, who loves them as they are and also offers them a new way forward. While religion so often has been used to separate, judge and condemn people the Jesus I encounter in these stories embraced and loved people first and saw the humanness of the person above and before anything else.