Geek, nerd, dork, doofus, idiot, jock, bandie, queer, pinko, commie, liberal, conservative, evangelical, Republican, Democrat, Christian, Muslim, Jew, terrorist, hillbilly, redneck, on and on and on…
I have heard each and every one of these labels used with utter disdain and malice towards someone considered “other”. I have also heard all of these terms used with elation, respect, and pride when referring to self or those who are not “other”.
I have labeled myself a “nerd”, I have been given a label (one which I take pride in), “presbynerd”. All of these labels in and of themselves don’t have any power, but when put in the context of an argument, a friendly joshing, or just plain meanness they have incredible power to both lift up and put down.
In last Sunday’s sermon Stephen said that “nobody is a nobody in Jesus’ eyes.” I think that is a very important point and as we start the move to the general election in November, the Presbyterian Church (USA) convenes its 218th General Assembly, and we, attempting to be faithful followers of God’s call, support particular ballot measures or overtures.
The thing we must remember is that the person on the other side of the aisle, the other side of the issue, the other ballot booth is not the devil. They have come to their understanding, and their opinion through many of the same processes that you have used, that I have used. We both have read books, or read blogs, or listened to pundits but that does not give me the right to discount this child of God because they believe differently than me. We as the church, as the body of Christ, are called to respond to our call from God; whether that’s voting, volunteering to help out the working poor or giving money to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, whatever it may be. We are ALL children of God.
Try to remember that in all of the things we do we are not only dealing with ISSUES, but also with PEOPLE. People who have been created in the image of God and are worthy of our love.
I don’t normally pick out one verse from scripture to look at but, 1st John 4:19 says, “We love because God first loved us.” (also read 1st John 4:7-21) I think sums up what I have been trying to say. We must first remember that the “other” is a child of God no matter what label we chose to place on them, so as we go out in our lives remember that we don’t have to agree but we do have to love.