Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 1, 2016
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
As a young boy the importance of treating everyone with respect and love was illustrated for me: all races, genders and religions. For most of my adolescence I attended a predominantly African American grade school. I distinctly remember my English teacher, Mrs. Rooks, model for us the simple lesson of love and acceptance for everyone. Fast forward to the year 1995 when my African American friend—Lee Jenkins and I met weekly to read and discuss Tony Evan’s book, Let’s Get to Know Each Other. Lee’s wife Martica did the makeup for three of our four daughters’ weddings—and Rita and I have attended the Jenkin’s church over the years.
I have been disturbed to learn the mutual love and respect the Jenkins and Baileys enjoy with one another is unfortunately the exception rather than the rule—even for followers of Jesus. Why is this? One reason is our country’s shift away from Christ’s commands. Like a deadly tornado our society has been swept away by its arrogant redefinition of what’s right. The further a generation distances itself from loving the Lord—the further they distance themselves from loving all people. The more our Creator is marginalized—the more His creation is marginalized. So for every life to matter— Christ has to matter—-otherwise, only “I” matter!
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness” (James 3:9).
Holy Scripture is crystal clear: male and female are created in the image of God. So, to dismiss a fellow human being is to dismiss the Lord’s crowning creation. To treat another race or gender with contempt is to treat Christ with contempt. How can we praise the Lord on Sunday and not praise and support a different race or religion during the week? I am learning there are two ways we can grow in our love and respect for those different than ourselves: empathy and education.
What does it mean to be empathic toward someone being treated unjustly? It means to feel their pain to the point we do something to alleviate it. We support them by speaking out against the inequities they routinely experience: like racial injustice, religious persecution or gender bias. Empathy without action is shallow sympathy. We may say we care, but until we do something, our words only patronize and could even cause a person to feel deeper inferiority. So, validate a person’s feelings, while seeking to help them find solutions to their unjust situation.
Education on the other hand seeks to comprehend the “why” behind the injustice an individual or group is experiencing. Why do some young black men turn to violence and crime? One reason is a poor example of fatherhood—dad left home or went to prison and was never around to parent their child. We can help solve this “fathering” gap by being available to mentor, tutor and provide jobs. Most of all, we look to our heavenly Father as the ultimate example of how to love and care for those different than ourselves. God’s love extends to every human being. He is especially interested in people who have been shunned by society. Every life matters to God, because He is the Creator of life—and what He creates—He calls us to love, respect and defend.
“Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean” (Acts 10:27-28).
PrayerHeavenly Father, lead me to love and care for Your creation in an honorable way.
ApplicationWhat group or individual can I grow a loving relationship with, with the purpose of helping them receive justice and freedom in Christ and in their culture?
Related ReadingPsalm 8:5; John 4:9, 18:28; Acts 11:3; 1 Corinthians 11:7; James 2:1-26
Post/Tweet todayFor every life to matter—then Christ has to matter—-otherwise, only “I” matter! #wisdomhunters #everylifematters
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