Stigmas are things which mark people as inferior. Anything which disgraces, shames or brings disapproval on others is a stigma. It may be a stigma against a group of people, an individual or a circumstance, and it has alienating results.
Jo and Steph take a look at life in Jesus’ day and the stigmas that were in place against certain groups of people, examining how Jesus walked deliberately over those imaginary lines to bring people into God’s kingdom. They also start exploring what it might look like practically to embrace stigmatized groups, using an example of a housing project focused on integrating people with HIV/Aids in a local community and the opposition that the project has encountered.
1) Take some time to think about the different groups of people who are stigmatized around you. Who are the people who are ‘unclean’ in your culture / life? Some may be obvious cultural stigmas, whilst some may be personal prejudices against individuals. Write a list of all those people and begin by asking God for forgiveness for those stigmas and to help you to see those people as He sees them. Then start by imagining what it might look like for you to step over those imaginary lines and bring God’s kingdom to those people.
2) Is there anyone who God may be asking you to lead or disciple who doesn’t fit into your or others’ expectations about who you should be leading or discipling?
3) What holds you back from engaging with people who are stigmatized? What are your fears? Be honest and bring them to God in prayer.
Jo and Steph want to hear from you! Let them know at the following social media: What are some of the stigmas you see around you today and why?
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