Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us?…
– Malachi 2:10 NASB
Well? The answer to both questions is, of course, “Yes.” Why then are we constantly dividing ourselves into groups?
Identity politics has reached new heights in public consciousness. We used to be a nation of individuals and families. Now we have become a nation of tribes. Tribal affiliation matters in today’s culture in the same way that gang membership matters in a ghetto. It’s deemed a matter of survival.
For all its modernity, today’s culture operates like a jungle. Certain words are taboo. To utter these words invites censure and ostracism. We’re reduced to a handful of crude social interactions. Extended, reasoned discussions can never take place because they are interrupted by shouts and slogans. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s scarlet letter of “A” for adultery is supposed to typify an age less enlightened than our own, yet an implied “R” for racist is today’s social equivalent. People work as hard today to avoid having to wear the virtual “R” as people used to work to avoid having to wear the literal “A.”
Even Christianity has become a tribe. People who confess Christ are consigned to that tribe. And it has innumerable sub-tribes. Following Christ has thus been reduced to a social identity one claims in the sight of other people as opposed to a life one lives in the sight of God.
God doesn’t care about our social labels. He sees right through them. He doesn’t care whether we call ourselves Christian, Caucasian, African-American, Latino, liberal, conservative, Muslim, Buddhist, or any of the other hundreds of social identities people feel impelled to invent and proclaim. He cares about us as a creator cares for creatures, as a father cares for his children.
That we have one Creator and one Father is something on which Jews and Gentiles should both agree. The apostle Paul spoke of God to some leading Gentiles in the following way:
“…in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.'”
– Acts 17:28 NASB
Therefore, let us look past social divisions and see each human being as a brother or sister. Yes, we are all sinful, but our Father is calling us to be like Him. And He’s wanting the family to be less dysfunctional.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, let me see problem people not as enemies, but as wayward brothers and sisters…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.