Monday, October 20, 2008

We Are Children of God

How many of us can honestly claim to follow, with any consistency, Paul's admonition in Phil. 2:3: "in humility consider others better than yourselves" (NIV)?

The era of oppressive colonialism may be over. Literal slavery may be history in most of the world. And officially sanctioned segregation may be rare. But bigotry is still far from dead--and it's not confined to extremists who spew hatred and advocate brutality. Nor is it always a matter of one ethnic group or social class considering itself too good to associate with another; the "I'm better than they are" attitude can manifest itself in a thousand ways. When someone is trying to maneuver a wheelchair through a narrow door ahead of us, and we fume because our time is being wasted; when we look at the homeless person on the street, or the arrogant teenager in the store, and see an annoyance rather than a human being; even when we're tempted to push past a dozen people "just like us" and grab the first place in line--we are in effect declaring ourselves a superior breed. One doesn't have to show consideration and compassion to one's inferiors!

If Christ had harbored that attitude, He never would have left Heaven for earth. Indeed, He spent most of His earthly ministry in conflict with people who did harbor that attitude and who "muttered, 'This man welcomes sinners and eats with them'" (Luke 15:2). It wasn't the "bad apples" and the "rejects," but the pious, and "respectable" types--the "good" people--who most hated the Epitome of true moral perfection. The puncturing of their superiority bubbles was more than their pride could take.

The Crucifixion is the ultimate proof that "little" attitudes of superiority can grow into monstrous evils.

We are children of God, whether black or white,
All of us equal in His sight.

We are children of God, whether rich or poor,
All of us standing at His door.

We are children of God, whether young or old,
All who are gathered into His fold.

We are children of God; we must not despise
Other souls precious in His eyes.

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