Thursday, May 26, 2016

"Us and Them"

Acts 15:9a, 11 NIV

“He made no distinction between us and them,… No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

It’s commonplace to identify differences with other people and maintain emotional distance. This behavior is a form of pre-judgementalism or ‘prejudice’. I do not like to make the admission of prejudice. I take pride in possessing (what I think is) an open mind and a loving spirit toward all people. Is this self-perception really self-deception? I wonder how others perceive me? Would they say I am open and loving toward them? Some may not. That would be the true test.

I occasionally lack the energy or courage to venture outside my comfort zone, away from the people who are like me and who like me. Fear of rejection, loss of control, the need to be liked, or the choice for comfort may have led me to pre-conclude others don’t need or deserve the love I have to offer. Am I guilty of making distinctions between “us and them”? 

Jesus Christ is the cure for prejudice. Does He make similar distinctions between people. Of course not. Jesus offers redemption to all people. I am saved “just as they are”.

God, I confess an “us and them” attitude. Help me overcome this form of prejudice. Teach me to view all people as candidates for the love of Christ and myself as a channel for that love.
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The collection of faces above comes from "2k Bloggers - The Face of the Blogosphere".

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good advice Dave. I definately need to work on this subject.

Dave Gillihan said...

Acts 13:52 "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."

Two or three verses before this they had been persecuted and expelled from the region. When I am under persecution, I am usually not filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. I typically feel depressed, discouraged, frustrated and sometimes angry. I have learned recently to keep my eyes focused on the Christ, the good and blessings he is giving besides the persecution, and it is beginning to turn my attitude about the situations I face. I wouldn't say it is joy yet, but it is getting closer day by day. If you look at Chapter 14, the persecution continued but Paul and Barnabas participated in miracles v.10 and then in v.19 they stoned Paul, drug him out of the town thinking he was dead. The next day he left for another town, another divine appointment! If you want to be effective for Christ, you must look to the good, seize the moment, and protect your joy. If you let the persecution get you down, you can become ineffective for Christ. My rehma for the week. Keep the faith, do the plan, have impact on the kingdom! Bless you brother for the relationship you are so willing to invest in with me. I truly love you and your precious family.
Dave Gillihan