“Salt is good, but if the salt should lose its flavor, how can you season it? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Mark 9:50 CSB
I have had multiple conversations regarding the “Us vs Them” agenda that is being thrown around currently in today’s climate. We saw this early on when everything began to shut down in our country. We saw this type of dialogue during an intense election year.
Then, yesterday’s message at church was very similar.
Christian vs Atheist.
Mask vs no mask
Open vs closed
Republican vs Democrat
Black vs White
Conservative vs Liberal
Vaccinated vs Non Vaccinated
Label upon label thrown against one another based on our perceived views about the other because of what they state they believe in. Labels are created for us so that we can place individiuals in boxes we think they deserve to be in. Those labels then insinuate to us that we must pick a side. Decide what label you want to wear for yourself.
Labels allow for division. We choose to let it happen.
We choose to divide ourselves among people based upon the label that we have decided to place on one another.
I started reading this book titled Love Anyway by Jeremy Courtney, the Founder of Preemptive Love Coalition . Again, no coincidence. God is leading my heart In a direction right now. Preemptive Love Coalition is an organization that exists to end war and provide opportunities for those in war torn regions of the world. Jeremy has come face to face with ISIS and has had his very life threatened multiple times, and he chooses love anyway.
Jeremy, after an encounter of the heart with God, realized that during his work with the Muslims overseas, God showed him that Jeremy wasn’t doing it because he loved the people. He was just trying to “win” and ”be right”.
My favorite quote, and I am paraphrasing is this:
“You can be right all you want, but you aren’t good.”
If you could have seen my face right when I read that line.
Being right does not mean that we are good. Or better than the other.
We have a tendency to simply only engage, follow, listen to those who believe and act exactly like us. There is no flavor. Jesus did not hang with only the religious and the righteous.
He walked among the sinners. The tax collectors. The Democrats and Republicans. The White Supremacists and the Black Lives Matter. Gay and Straight. Vax and non Vax.
Get the picture?
The self imposed righteous? Those who love to flaunt their goodness and their obedience to the law? Remember the Pharisees? The religious leaders back in the day? Jesus had words for them.
A brood of vipers, he called them.
They are rules everyone else had to follow, except themselves. They took the best seats in the best places for themselves. They loved the attention and the notoriety.
But they didn’t love one another. They did not love the people.
In order to fulfill the great commission, you cannot only be around those you agree with or are exactly alike. You cannot season with salt with the flavor of the gospel with those who think exactly like you. That is not how it works.
You must go out into the world. You must love. You must engage. You must befriend. You must listen.
Be Salt and be Light.
Stop the division conversation. No more Us vs Them. Disagree, sure. We all do. Convictions matter. They do.
But there is no us vs them. If there are no other believers where you are, whether work, school, community…. do not disengage. Don’t pull out. Don’t run away. Perhaps God has placed you there for a reason, so therefore, choose to step in. Engage. Learn. Befriend.