“Them” versus “Us”

You know who I mean. Them… the folks who aren’t us.

Seems like we’re talking about them a lot lately.

You and I likely know them in our workplace, our neighborhood, perhaps even our church. We probably accept them, perhaps even love them, but…and there’s the key. There’s a “but” attached to them. There’s that thing, that special sin, that makes them, well, them. And when you think of them, that thing is what comes to mind.

But what about us? Aren’t we broken as well?

Of course, but it’s different. You wouldn’t point at people like us and say, “She’s kind of a glutton, but I love her anyway. He’s pretty greedy, but I love him anyway. He’s prideful, she’s envious, he drinks too much, she gossips…but I love them anyway,”

Those folks are just like me. We don’t identify people like us by their sins. If I judged people that way, they’d do the same to me. We’re pretty good at using the log/speck in the eye thing to act humble and pass around a lot of grace to folks like us.

But them? We’ll love them, I guess, because we’re supposed to love everybody. But we’ve got to make sure everyone knows we hate their particular sin. Acceptance and love are conditional—there’s always that scarlet letter that goes with being one of them.

We’re fond of pointing out that Jesus hung out with sinners, but He didn’t ever make a big deal out of it. They were His friends, not broken toys to be repaired. We like to forget…He came to become one of them.

The religious folks were the ones who highlighted and objected to Jesus’ choice of companions. He’d have been happy to have dinner at their house, but they never invited Him.

After all, He was one of “them.”

Now, a question for you. As I describe “them,” which issue, which sin, comes to mind? I’ll bet one pops up, which proves my point. Same thing happens for me.

So… my best intent, going forward, is NO MORE THEM. Them is us.

I’ll fail. I know before I begin about blind spots and deeply-held prejudices that won’t magically disappear.

But for a start, I’ll no longer be okay with “Hate the sin, love the sinner” about any particular issue. It just doesn’t work for me any longer.

I think I’ll just work at, and be grateful for, the “love” part.

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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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