Friday, April 1, 2011

Equality in Christ

"Do any walls bisect your world? There you stand on one side. And on the other? The person you've learned to disregard, perhaps even disdain. The teen with the tats. The boss with the bucks. The immigrant with the hard-to-understand accent. The person on the opposite side of your political fence. The beggar who sits outside your church every week." (Max Lucado Outlive Your Life, p. 125)

We could certainly come up with a longer list. What walls exist in your world? Whom do you build up walls toward because of different styles of worship (or even different religions...yes, we are called to relationship with them), different tastes, different tongues and different traditions?

Jesus spent His time breaking down the barriers and walls that people built, and still build, up (whether they be physical or societal). Countless times, He spent time with people society disrespected or discarded. The stories about people He spent time with and reached out to (or reached back to when they reached out to Him) teach us how He feels about the person on the other side of the walls we have built up.

"The Cross of Christ creates a new people, a people unhindered by skin color or family feud. A new citizenry, based not on common ancestry or geography but on a common Savior." (Lucado, 128)

It's time we get past our biases. I would argue with Max in that he talks about us hindering God's work because of these stereotypes. I don't believe that we can hinder God's work...but we can hinder our participation in this work.

We are ALL welcomed to His table and we are ALL equal at the foot of His Cross.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are ALL one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you, so that God will be given glory. (Romans 15:7)

Who are you or I to consider ourselves MORE worthy than someone else of the Love of Jesus Christ? To teach anyone that they are unacceptable to Him just as they ARE is not only an insult to these persons who are made in the image of God. It is also an insult to Jesus Christ and blatant distortion of and assault on His teaching.

Prayer (from Max Lucado p. 130): "Lord, in how many ways does my foolish heart make false distinctions among Your people? Reveal them to me. How often do I judge someone as unworthy of You by the way I treat him or her? Rebuke me in Your love. Where can I blast a wall or remove a barrier that keeps Your children apart from one another? Give me some dynamite and the skill and courage to use it for your glory. What can I do in my sphere of influence to bring the love of Christ to someone who may feel ostracized or estranged from You? Lend me divine insight, and bless me with the resolve to be Your hands and feet. May I be a bridge and not a wall. In Jesus' name I pray, amen."