Too often in our lives we let our differences define us. Race, gender, sexuality, political ideology, religious affiliation, and our theological views are more often than not things that separate and divide us. We do not often look for the things we have in common among our differences, but we divide ourselves further by focusing on what we don’t agree with. It makes sense that we would be drawn to those who are like us, it’s in our nature. It’s much easier to build relationships with those who agree with us than those we may struggle to see eye to eye with.
But what if God was actually calling us to lean into the tension that our differences create? What if it was in the middle of us loving people who didn’t look or think like us that Jesus shows up?
I really like it when things are cut and dry. When one option is right and the other is wrong. But the more and more I live life there fewer instances when things are that simple. There’s so much more gray than black and white.
Maybe the biggest challenge the modern church faces isn’t how to get Millennials into church or what worship style will lead us into the future, maybe its simply learning how to love each other even though we disagree.
On my run the other day I heard these lyrics:
We reject the either or
They can’t define us anymore
Cause if it’s us or them
It’s us for them
It’s us for them – Gungor “Us Or Them”
More and more our society tells us to dig our feet in and draw even more lines to separate us. We’ve all heard politicians and TV personalities telling us to be afraid of entire groups of people and to not extend help to those who desperately need it. Maybe that’s the way some want our country to be run, but as Christians we are called to be different.
Jesus says in Luke 6:27-36, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
Jesus hung out with the marginalized and the outcast and we are called to do the same. Not to be afraid of those who are different but to love them. To put others before ourselves, no matter what they look like or believe.
“If it’s us or them, it’s us for them.”
God’s love is not segregated to a certain denomination, race, sexuality, or ideology. God loves us and our biggest enemies just the same.