Then Jesus went from that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, "Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon." But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, "Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us." He said in reply, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But the woman came and did him homage, saying, "Lord, help me." He said in reply, "It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters." Then Jesus said to her in reply, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed from that hour. (Mt 15:21-28)
Jesus is in a foreign land. He is with a Canaanite woman who does not worship YAHWEH. So, the land is different, society is different, the culture is different and the religion also is different. And the natural consequence is discrimination. This story beautifully sums up the situation of discrimination.
The first stage of discrimination is ‘ignoring’. She is coming behind Jesus and he seems not to take any note of her shouting. He ignores her. The second stage is ‘dividing’. She does not belong to us. (I was sent only to the lost sheep…). And the third stage is ‘insulting’. (It is not right to take the food… to the dogs…). Yes, the discrimination proceeds in three stages: 1) ignoring 2) dividing 3) insulting.
Faith overcomes all these. Faith seems to be the first action to overcome this discrimination. Faith reveals the relationship that exists between a person and God and that in return will remove discrimination and build up relationship with the people. This will remove the differences in culture, society, and land.