When humans lived in caves, and had to kill their food with sticks, it was very important to know who your clan was and who your enemies were. Your people helped you gather food and build fires, while those people wanted to kill you and take your stuff. But we don’t live in caves anymore. So why do we still spend so much energy splitting the world into US and THEM?
Jesus didn’t do that. One of the most consistent elements of his ministry was his willingness to cross boundaries. He was always talking to the people he wasn’t supposed to talk to (the Samaritan woman should’ve been a double deal-breaker , Jn 4:1-26). Or he was touching people you weren’t supposed to touch (like the man with leprosy in Mark 1:40-41). Or he was giving time to the tax collectors, prostitutes and roman soldiers instead of the priests and Pharisees. Then, just when you thought you had him figured out, he drops everything to heal the daughter of a “Leader of the Synagogue” (Luke 8:49).
People didn’t know what to make of it. Pharisees, Romans, Sadducees, peasants…everyone had the world divided up into clear Us’s and Thems but they kept finding the Messiah standing with…Them. Because Jesus didn’t see the world in terms of Us and Them. He knew that everyone is a part of God’s “us.” And thank God for that.
So if we want to be Christ-like, I guess we’ve got a hill to climb. Divisions like OU vs. OSU make us crazy – not to mention things like race, politics, socio-economic status, generation gaps or nationality. But you know what? Those things simply don’t deserve the weight we give them. Not from God’s perspective. (heads up – we’re going there) If you’re a Republican, you will always disagree on some things with a Democrat and vice versa. But the “other” in this case is NOT trying to kill you, burn down your cave and steal your stuff. They are not an enemy. And we’ve got to learn how to treat each other as fellow humans – even when we disagree.
Jesus is with all of us. So those who split the world into Us and Them shouldn’t be surprised when they find that Jesus is standing on the other side of the line.