Humans have always found ways to divide one from another regarding race, nationality, gender, sexuality, and innumerable other differences. It seems that anyone different from us is suspect. The question is, who is “us”?
Predominantly white-male-controlled societies have left an indelible mark on society. Women have been treated like servants or property. People of color have been marginalized, hated, and killed for no reason other than skin color. People of various religious backgrounds have been ostracized, imprisoned, and killed. First Americans have been segregated, displaced, and killed.
I am often ashamed of my European ancestors for such atrocities. I can remember, up until about 1975, there was still a gas station back in my childhood home of Northern Baltimore County, Maryland that had the restrooms around back with a sign on each door; “Whites Only” and “Coloreds”.
I know there are still people that believe women are less-than men. Women have too often been viewed as the property of a man, or worse yet, his servant. I think there is a certain mental illness involved with these attitudes. If a person needs to feel bigger or better than someone else to feel good about themselves, that is an insidious mental illness.
Gender identification and sexual expression have been another basis for division, hatred, and killing. On the subject of sex, my father was known to ask, “Why do people make such a big deal over 15 minutes?!” Humans are sexual beings. If you disagree, just ask yourself how much sex has meant in your life (90% of us might be blushing about now).
The Apostle Paul, in writing to Christians in Galatia (now Central Asia Minor) wrote: “[All of you that] were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:27-29 NRSV)
It’s that simple. Jesus Christ died for all humans, so that everyone who believes in Him will not die but live forever (See John 3:16). We have all been blessed by the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. However, many have used the supposed “words of Christ” to promote division, segregation, hatred, and killing.
The truth is this; We are all one through Jesus Christ. We do not have the authority, nor are we called to promote divisions. We do not have the right to promote hatred for ANY reason. We do not have the right or responsibility to judge one another. In fact, we are warned against judging; “Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.” (Romans 14:13 NRSV)
There is an idea … don’t cause someone to stumble (falter, fail, fear), instead, show love.
Blessings and Peace to You All,
Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. St. Andrew's worship service is at 10 a.m., every Sunday, and broadcast on KWXC 88.9 FM at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.