Spiritual Profiling

Throughout the career of any law enforcement officer, especially in regards to narcotics enforcement, one of the most unethical practices that must be cautiously avoided is called “Profiling”, and it comes in many forms. Racial profiling is the most commonly referred to, which means targeting a specific individual, or group of individuals, based solely upon their color or ethnic origin. If every car an officer stopped contained only African Americans, Hispanics or Middle Eastern folks, that particular officer would undoubtedly be guilty of this practice and their career would be (and should be) short lived.

Another example would be economic profiling. This would occur if an officer only targeted people living in run down mobile home parks or government housing, people driving older model, beat up vehicles or people who congregate in places that the wealthy and elite may not venture. To avoid profiling, police officers must be consistent with everyone from everywhere, in all things.

Although law enforcement officers are generally the ones most commonly accused of profiling, could you and I be guilty of the same type of practices within our personal lives? Worse yet, could you and I be guilty of picking and choosing the people we feel are “worthy” of our efforts in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ? Let’s explore the possibilities;

If you are driving down the road this afternoon and see a well-dressed lady in a Mercedes on the side of the road with a flat tire, would you stop and offer assistance? Let’s say a few miles later you see a beat up minivan with no hubcaps sitting on the side of the road with smoke coming from the radiator. You see a lady wearing dirty clothes and sporting numerous tattoos as she stands in front of the van with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth; would your decision to stop and help her be the same as the one you just made in regards to the lady driving the Mercedes? Did you just elevate one person’s worthiness of assistance over another? Were you “profiling” based upon outward appearance? Is it sin to do so?

Let’s continue our survey of the Book of James as we begin Chapter 2:

James 2:1-9 (NKJV) (1) My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, The Lord of glory, with partiality. (2) For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, (3) and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or “Sit here at my footstool,” (4) have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

(5) Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to those who love Him? (6) But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? (7) Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? (8) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; (9) but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.  

You probably don’t know this, but about two weeks ago, a group of twelve Christians from our community (Mostly teenagers from the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia and New Providence) drove to the poverty stricken, gang infested, government housing areas of downtown Memphis, TN, to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the children of those communities. There was a child tragically killed during a drive by shooting just days before this group of disciple makers arrived in Memphis. As a result of God working through this small group, 9 young children trusted in Jesus Christ for eternal salvation!! How awesome is the testimony of those young Christians?

Now here is the sad part…. This trip was planned and sponsored by the Loudon County Baptist Association in which over forty local Baptist churches claim to be associated, including my own. If each of the forty churches only had fifty members, that makes a total of at least 2,000 Christians within the association. (By the way, some churches have several hundred members). Of the conservative number of 2,000 Christians within the Loudon County Baptist Association, only twelve people volunteered to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to those children in Memphis where nine kids gave their hearts to Christ! How many more may have been introduced to Jesus if 100, or even 200 local Christians from our association would have committed to go and serve together?

I will undoubtedly take some heat on that one but it is absolutely true. Our efforts to impact the world are pitiful! Those children are mostly black, mostly poor, mostly from broken homes without fathers and more importantly… they are mostly lost! Was this an example of spiritual profiling, spiritual fear or just spiritual laziness? I pray that some Baptists within our community will be convicted by God after realizing what He is trying to do through us in other places.

Angie and I spent that same week serving with World Changers in Columbia, South Carolina with sixteen others from New Providence. One of the youth in our group had the opportunity to lead someone to Christ that week and we all witnessed God changing hearts within our group and within others at the event. I was asked to be a crew chief on a roofing project and it was an awesome experience. I spent the week working and sharing with six college students from all over the country and witnessed their desire to spread the gospel to the less fortunate in Columbia and around the world.

The message today is this; Jesus loves the poor as well as the rich. He loves the black as much as the white. Jesus gave his life for the clean as well as the dirty. As Christians we should not overlook anyone, anywhere and at any time. Let us all be cautious to avoid the traps of spiritually profiling others and truly learn to “Love our neighbor as ourselves!”

Agent Jeff Vittatoe

9th Drug Task Force

Trackbacks and pingbacks

No trackback or pingback available for this article.

Leave a Reply