There’s a great divide in our country and in our churches – people are being separated from one another based on beliefs, race, monetary status, theological stances, child-rearing, languages. Democrat, Republican, Tea-Party, Independent, Communist, Green-Party. Hunting, PETA, vegetarian, vegan, organic. Pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib. Serving communion weekly or monthly. Bible-belt, steel belt, green belt, liberal, conservative, ultra conservative, far left, right, center. King James, NIV, NKJV, ASV, NLT, ESV, AMP, GNT, TNIV. Only English, ESL, bi-lingual, native tongue. Poverty, low-income, middle-class, upper middle-class, upper-class, rich, poor, working poor. Spanking, time-outs, consequences, free parenting, exploratory.
All these different labels we have placed on ourselves, or had placed on us, have put us all in specific boxes in our country. Sometimes these boxes make us feel inferior; others make us feel like the dominating population. The US Declaration says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Something self-evident is apparent without proof or reasoning – we take it as it is. The authors of the Constitution made a huge leap in saying that everyone is created equal – no longer were there classes of people, no longer were the rich better than the poor, no longer were those in power better than those they ruled over.
Paul, in writing 1 Corinthians, had to really work on a difficult situation involving the church in Corinth – they were divided on a number of issues – worldly vs. biblical living, Jews vs. Gentiles, how to worship, how to love, etc. Paul flat out tells the Corinthian church:
“But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 1 Cor 12:24b – 26
He’s basically saying that there shouldn’t be any dissection in the church – everyone should be equal with one another. The poor, the rich, the Jew, the Gentile – if they are joined by God then nothing should separate them from one another. Especially worldly things like money or class or race or career or languages.
Sometimes I look at our country, and our church, and I see such a huge division among the people. Everyone thinks their ideas and thoughts and beliefs are right, and to hell with those who don’t have the same thoughts or beliefs. The Constitution and the Bible call us to treat everyone with respect and equality. There’s no need for hate or discontent based on beliefs. Certainly we don’t have to agree with other people’s thoughts, ideas, or beliefs, but we shouldn’t cause such a division within our churches or our country to where one group feels excluded from the grand scheme of things.
Our country is a huge group of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, Gnostics, Asians, whites, Africans, Indians, natives and immigrants, poor, and rich. And every one of these groups are Americans, created equally and having the right to live here. Just as those who read the NKJV, the NIV, the Message or are Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Church of Christ, Disciple of Christ, Presbyterian, Catholic, believe in Pre-Trib or Post-Trib or Mid-Trib or believe in total immersion or sprinkling are all Christians.
Less division. More addition.
much love. sheth.