In our sinful nature, humans look for differences that separate us and build walls to keep us divided. In the Bible, the us/them mentality was seen in the animosity between the Jews and Samaritans, the relationship between slaves and masters, the roles of men and women, the contrast between the religious elite and the social outcasts, and many other conflicting relationships. Today we see it in countless ways from the serious to the downright silly: Republican/Democrat, Urban/Rural, Rich/Poor, Male/Female, American/Foreigner, Enabled/Impaired (physically, intellectually, emotionally) … Millennium/Baby Boomer, Stay-at-Home Mom/Working Mom … Apple/Android, Over the Top/Underneath (toilet paper) … Every desire to divide comes directly from our sinful natures. God’s perfect nature desires us to be united, because God created every one of us and Jesus came to offer salvation to each of us.
God created both the “us” and the “them” as Job pointed out when speaking about masters and servants: “Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?” (Job 31:15). More importantly, God does not see a divide in His creation between “us” and “them” as Elihu testifies: “…who shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?” (Job 34:19). In addition, Jesus’s salvation does not favor one group over another. Christ’s last instruction to His disciples was to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8), because His end goal is for all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
The two mission grants featured this month, Biblical Orthodox Lutheran Ministry (BOLM) and Dominican Republic Disability Ministry, seek to tear down walls that would divide us. The Dominican Republic Disability Ministry reaches out to children and adults who have been pushed aside in their society due to intellectual and developmental disabilities. This ministry established the Good Shepherd Lutheran Home to show God’s love for His creation by meeting the physical needs of these individuals and to share the message of salvation through Bible stories, music, and craft activities. The mission of BOLM is to share the Gospel with a group who many in our country see as “them”: Arabic-speaking peoples. Their 110 missionaries have shared the love of God and message of salvation with thousands of people using internet, TV, radio, and printed materials.
As we continue to collect mites to support these missions, let us also follow their lead in loving those classified as “them.” Let us not through our actions, words, or social media posts seek division and build walls, but rather let us seek ways of inclusion and tear down walls by sharing with all people God’s love and salvation so that we may be united in Christ.