Sunday Sermon 1.23.21
The nation I live in is changing and I don’t recognize who we are any longer and I wonder where we are headed.
There are terms and words and descriptions and ideas I don’t understand; words like- woke, intersectionality, gas light, call-out culture, and microaggressions, to name a very few. I have been learning a great deal and trying to make sense of it all.
Perhaps that is why, over the holidays, upon the recommendation of my son, I read and thoroughly enjoyed the book, “The Coddling of the American Mind“. (G Lukianoff, I. Haidt) In the book, the authors address many of these terms giving their foundational meanings, as well as submit what they call 3 great “Untruths”. These untruths, according to the authors, are well intended, but bad ideas being prominently promoted in academia, our culture, society and law for the past many years.
One of their ideas, using my summarization is, “Us verses Them”.
Listening to and watching events of recent months in our nation, “us verses them” is clearly visible. We are never without someone or group raging against another group. One set of beliefs is criticized and mocked by another point of view. “Us verses them” is at play.
We have been segregated into groups based on immutable qualities and characteristics that we did not even choose because they were beyond our control. We have been pitted against one another in an effort to divide us even more. “Us verses them” is at play.
But today, I want to offer a time tested solution to “us verses them”, and in doing so reaffirm a much needed foundation for not only our personal lives but our nation. For when we build on sure foundations, our security is guaranteed no matter the blasting “us verses them” winds that blow.
What foundation is that?
God made all of us.
Without exception, we were all made in God’s image, each unique in design, purpose and destiny. What God makes is good! He don’t make junk or second class citizens. Genesis 1-2
He breathed life’s breath into our lungs and as a proud parent, took joy in his design and marveled at our likeness. Created in His image, God’s idea, His child – that is who I am. I am because of Him, He made me. I had nothing to do with it. He loves me just the way He made me. Psalms 139; Psalm 71:6; Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15
All 7.8 billion people on the planet right now can make the above proclamation. God made each one of them, delights in each of them and loves all of them equally.
Please review these ancient verses:
- Genesis 1:27 – God made man in his image, male and female he created them
- Deuteronomy 10:17 – He does not show partiality
- Acts 17:26 – From one man he made all nations
- Acts 10:34-35 – God shows no partiality
- Galatians 3:28 – There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
- Colossians 3:11 – Here there is no Gentile nor Jew, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all
- Acts 10:28 – But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.
- Malachi 2:10 – Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us?
God, through Jesus death on the cross, erased forever any lines of segregation, prejudice and “us verses them”. Talk about inclusion?!
As new creations in Jesus, we are given His identity, and that identity has nothing to do with religious, ethnic, cultural or socioeconomic features. Galatians 3:26-29
Our challenge then, is to keep putting off our old identity and way of referring to others and put on the new man which should be without distinction. Colossians 3:8-11
We are reminded that upon Jesus death, when the veil in the Temple was ripped in half, it represented the destruction of barriers and all dividing walls of hostility, thus making one new humanity, in peace and reconciled to God. Ephesians 2:11-22
These and other ancient scriptures remind us of the basic foundation of the oneness of mankind. All of us made by God, in His image, for His pleasure. All. of. us.
But what happens is we forget. And when we forget, we inevitably end up sitting in judgement of others. Isn’t that prejudice? And what results is an “us verses them” mentality, or perspective. Voila, that’s where we are today.
Not one of us is without guilt here. We are not perfect and yet, we still need to strive to live by our foundation(s). That is the beauty of walking with Jesus; he loves us enough to stick with us as we change and to allow us to fail as we grow along the way. But he loves us so much He will not allow us to remain the same. Made in His image, we have our work (actually His work in us) cut out for us, right?
Jesus walked with Pharisees, tax collectors, fishermen, men, women, Jews, Greeks, soldiers, prostitutes, thieves, lepers, Samaritans, the demon possessed, rulers, peasants… you name it. Jesus not only associated with but loved equally everyone. He even took flack from others that He did so.
His heart was always driven by love and mercy. His heart was free from prejudice and favoritism. He was not partial. He is our example. In Him there is no “us verses them”. He loves us all and expects us to do the same. He told us so in John 13:34, “Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
This foundation of love for all, because we are all made in the image of God, is for both personal and national stability. It is time-tested. It is sure.
Therefore, it is incumbent on us to re-fortify this foundation in our lives. To fight against the tendency to see things as “us verses them”, but rather to show mercy, love, and grace for all – period.
So, as I am learning these new terms and labels in our society, I will also seek to live without them and stand firmly upon the time-tested solution of love, mercy, and grace for all.
Lord, please help me, help us – all.
Go with God.