Us vs. Them

Gays vs. Straights.
Men vs. Women.
Black vs. White.
Poor vs. Rich.
Liberals vs. Conservatives.
Baptists vs. Catholics vs. Mormons.
Christians vs. Jews vs. Muslims vs. Non-Christians.
Us vs.Them.

What is wrong with us anyway? Why does there have to be an “Us”? Why does there have to be a “Them”? What is wrong with humanity that we have this GIANT insatiable need to find an enemy? To take sides? To separate ourselves from other human beings? To put people in categories? What is it about us that HAS to distinguish ourselves from others? Yes we are different…but when we begin to suspect that other people are really “Aliens from Other Worlds”, then we have a problem. A spiritual problem.
There could be 2 of us left on the planet and inevitably we would find each other’s differences and learn to hate each other.
Animals are more harmonious than we are!
What’s up with that?
For some strange reason, mankind (and womankind) has to find
a Bad Guy/Gal. We have a need to find someone who is beneath us. Someone to ridicule, someone to spit on, someone to blame our problems on…someone to make us feel better about ourselves.

Us vs. Them.

This is pretty pathetic. What happened?
Well I think it may have started with Adam and Eve. When they ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and God came and asked what happened. Adam blamed Eve who blamed the Serpent.
That of course created the condition of man…to point the finger at someone else and fault them for our troubles.
It passed on to their children and now to us. Original sin.
Of course here we are still blaming Adam and Eve…and not taking
responsibility for ourselves. And by blaming others, then we think we are better than someone else. So now we blame EVERYONE who isn’t like us and make them the “Children of Satan”.

We learned early on that our parents favored some people over others. That they didn’t “associate” with certain people because they were “not like us”. We also found some kids got more attention than us. So what did we do? We came to resent them and found things wrong with them because of our envy & jealousy.
We also learned that the rest of the world thinks differently than us. So in order to fit in, we picked a group that we liked and joined in. Popular kids hung out with other popular kids. Shy kids hung out with other shy kids. Sporty kids hung out with other sporty kids. And some of us…well… we never did find a group to join.
We learned that boys and girls aren’t supposed to play together. That the teacher favored the smart kids and the not-so-smart kids were laughed at. That being handsome or pretty meant everyone wanted to be your friend, but that some kids were branded GOOFY, UGLY, FAT, or WEIRD and that to associate with these kids would make us LOOK BAD. And this was our most alarming revelation:
That these kids were ridiculed relentlessly because they were the opposite of the favored group and that …
WE MIGHT BE ONE OF THOSE KIDS!
So in order to “survive”…we made sure that we weren’t in any of
those categories. But many of us couldn’t hide some things about us. A lot of us were ridiculed for being A FAG, SISSY, BULL DYKE or LEZZY. And of course as we know now…many of us have suffered serious damage from this mental and sometimes physical abuse. As adults, many of us remember that pain and still carry this “protective shield” around us to keep us from being hurt.
So…WE HATE SOMEONE FIRST BEFORE THEY CAN HATE US.
We pick apart everyone else…their looks, their status, their religion, their politics, their jobs, their ethnicity, their culture, their weight, their lifestyle…we basically tear down an entire person…JUST TO MAKE OURSELVES FEEL BETTER ABOUT OURSELVES. This is our sin.
And yes we are different. But that is a beautiful thing.
Not a terrible thing.

And why did God make us different?
I believe He made His people different INTENTIONALLY.
Some people are black, some are white, some are beautiful, some are not-so-beautiful, some are rich, some are poor, some are short, some are tall, some are straight, some are gay, some are quiet, some are noisy…etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.
And what was the point of making us all so different from each other?
Because God is saying to all of us:

I’VE MADE YOU ALL DIFFERENT…
NOW LET’S SEE IF YOU CAN LOVE AND GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER. And do you know what?

WE CAN’T SEEM TO DO IT.

WE CAN’T SEEM TO GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER. Even a few minutes of television news will reveal our wars, arguing, name calling, resentment and hatred...all justified by our differences.
Even in the Old Testament, the Israelites were at war with the enemies of God. “An eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth” was the rule. And a lot of Christian churches today are in dire need of REFEREES within their congregations. Not a pretty sight for newcomers searching for a loving Christian community.

Well, do you know what? Now…because of Jesus Christ…
THIS IS NO LONGER ALLOWED. Jesus came and changed everything.
We are new creatures because of Him.
Jesus commands us to love our enemies and pray for them
(Matt 5:43-48), forgive others as God has forgiven us (Matt. 6:14)
and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31).
You see, we are SO BAD at loving each other that Jesus
had to MAKE A COMMANDMENT OF IT. (John 13: 34-35)
This means we can no longer look for enemies.
No one is our enemy. Every person is our brother or sister. Not to be ridiculed. Not to be looked down upon. Not to be disrespected. But to be loved, honored and welcomed, whether he/she is a fellow Christian or non-Christian or Anti-GLBT Fundamentalist.
Each person is another fellow human being with their own problems, trying to stand on their own. Though you think you are better than someone else…your pride has just knocked you down.
And yes we all have differences, but we are to look past them and look into the hearts of our brothers and sisters and find our similarity.
Our humanity. Our common heart.
It is no longer “Us vs. Them”…but “WE”.
This is Jesus’ new commandment. This is the way of God.
Love your neighbor as yourself.

 

© 2004 Edrick


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