The problem with these people is...

Last Sunday we finished our Co//ide series. We heard from Ross Wright on a collision that we all deal with on daily basis: Us//Them. If you missed his message, you can find it here.

The following is a summation from Ross Wright.

Turn on the radio, channel surf on your tv, or check your Facebook wall. It won’t take long for you to find someone pitting “us” against “them.” We see it all the time in our competitive and divided culture: people judging and condemning other people because of differences and disagreements.

Any of these phrases look familiar?

            “The problem with these people is…”
            “What they don’t understand is…”
            “That’s all that matters to people like that.”
            “They’re ignorant because…”
            “They are trying to destroy (fill in the blank)”

An “us” and “them” mentality is common because of differences among people. Vast differences. We look different, believe differently, and have different sets of priorities. This lead us to put up walls and forget about what might unite us.

And there is one thing that unites all people: God’s love.

That’s right! He doesn’t just love the beautiful, rich, pious, powerful and popular. He loves everyone, even you… and even the people you don’t particularly like. And he wants us to have that same vision when we look at others.

In the first book of Timothy in the New Testament, we read that God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4 NIV)

Notice the words “all people.” I wonder if we’d act differently towards others if God himself whispered to us, “you’re talking about one of my unique and beautiful creations,” or, “you’re speaking with someone I love.”

I believe what matters most is the condition of a person’s soul. Not politics, talent, status, possessions, or anything else. And as a Christian, that means I cannot let petty and man-made differences stand between myself and another one of God’s cherished creations. I must use God’s divine vision and look on others with love. And with actions and words, I must lead with love. It should be the first thing people see coming from me.

I’m inspired by the Message translation of Matthew 5:43-48. Here, Jesus is talking about a difficult but holy love. And notice the tone. This is a rallying cry for the people of the one true God:

"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
48"In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you." (Matthew 5:43-48 MSG)

Pray for strength and courage (and holy reminders) to love others the way God loves us.

Ross Wright - twitter.com/therosswright

Thank you Ross for these words of encouragement and for the challenge to love the way God loves!

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