We tend to make rules that keep people in or out. We create barriers that keep likeminded people together and exclude anyone that dissents from the main view. It starts early, even as young as elementary school. Sometimes the divisions are created for us – boys on one side, girls on the other. Sometimes we create them – think playground picking of teams. We choose people we want to be around and exclude those that we consider different. Unfortunately, we carry this through into our adult lives way too often. We buy houses in places where there are people like us. We choose schools on that basis. We go to social events with people that fit in the group we want to identify. So many of our everyday decisions are based on choosing people and groups to make sure we are with people who think, look and act like us.
Yet, it makes for a pretty boring world. Sure, we may be able to talk about topics and everyone agree. We may be able to rally around a subject and everyone get on fire about it. We may find those that will agree with us, so we feel better about our views. But we never really learn to be followers of Jesus really well. Jesus went outside of the group – all the time. He ate with the wrong people. He went in the wrong houses. He visited those that were excluded – who were even run out of town. He sat down with people that he should have never approached, much less talked with. He broke every one of the cultural and religious rules when it came to meeting people. He didn’t have a group that was made up of the same type of people. Even his disciples were a quirky group of guys that were from different backgrounds. Yet, Jesus changed things because he was willing to listen, see and spend time with those that had been excluded.
What might it look like for us to do the same? What might it take for us to spend time with those who do not look, think, act, vote, or believe like us? It really is a challenge because it is outside of our comfort zone. It pushes us out into places we have not gone. It gives us the chance to listen. We may find we learn something. We may actually find out those people are actually people just like us – just with different views. We are, after all, God’s good creation. Maybe today we discover the good in others.
36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
Photos included in Devotions are captured by David Cain – The Cain Gallery. Photos are available for sale by contacting The Cain Gallery