They are everywhere. Categories, groupings, stereo-types, classes. Black. white, latino, male, female, liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, gay, straight, poor, wealthy, young, old, christian, hindu, muslim, jew, buddhist… Do you see where I am going? In order to maintain large amounts of data in our brains we have adapted methods to sort and categorize all kinds of things, but especially people. It’s a natural thought process.
But we are smarter than this. The world does not exist in the neat manila folders in which we would like to keep it. People are not always what you think. My students prove this every single day.
Turn on your televisions and you can see the disastrous consequences of closed minded “code word” labels we like to use to scare and threaten. Historically words like Jew, Nigger, Catholic, Fairy, and Communist have been used to evoke fear, resentment, and anger in the United States. What words, today, evoke those same feelings? Think about this for a minute.
Jesus dined with the worst labels in His day; prostitutes, gamblers, and tax collectors. He rebuked the pharisees for attempting to stone an adulterous woman, without examining their own deserved sin labels.
All this to say, look outside of your preconceived categories. Listen to what people are trying to say. Dialog to gain understanding. Work hard to withhold your natural groupings. For us to be God’s kingdom we must try harder than ever to get past political, social,and economic status to let our minds be stretched. In the days to come I pray to God for strength to see people as He wants me to see them. I will pray for you too.