Sin Destroys Peace...
All of these words can be used to describe parts of who I am, amongst many others. What came to your mind with each of these words? What did you imagine me to be like? What did you assume about me?
Let’s try another set of words…
What assumptions did you make with these identifiers? What words or pictures came to your mind? What you assume about a person with these descriptions?
Too often, the assumptions we are drawn to tend to be negative. We immediately think of the stereotypes and the prejudices. Our minds conjure up the latest images we have seen on the media about those other people in those other places.
We draw a circle around those people in far-away lands, whose language and customs we don’t understand – and we label them the “other”. When you label them as the “other”, it’s easy to be scared. It’s easy to ignore them. It’s easy to forget that they too, are people, created in the image of our God.
But, God loves every tribe, every tongue, and every nation. His heart is that every single one of His creation knows Him and has a relationship with Him.
When we only identify with God through our Western eyes, we mock Him and his creation. When we cling too tightly to our political or economic values, we run the risk of caring more about these than our King and His Kingdom. We run the risk of idolizing our form of government, our culture, and our way of life.
As Greg Boyd says in his article “For (Too much) Love of Country”,
“[Jesus] came to inaugurate a Kingdom that is “not of this world.” It’s a Kingdom that is no more Israeli than it is Palestinian; no more American than it is Iraqi; and no more socialist than it is democratic.
Instead, it’s a Kingdom that encompasses people from every nation and political persuasion, for it puts on display the “one new humanity” Jesus died to create (Ephesians 2:15). In this Kingdom, Paul declares, there is no longer any Jew or Greek (Galatians 3:27-29).”
So, remember that we are citizens, not of this world, but of the heavenly realms. Return to loving others, because God created them, because they are human, and because really, they are no different than us.
Let’s wave a flag that says, “New Creation”, which proclaims that no matter where you came from - your background, your language, your customs, etc. - there is freedom and love and redemption in Christ.