Making Distinctions

divided highwayAs a people we seem obsessed with dividing people, questions or problems into clearly defined groups. We like to draw lines. Among the lines we draw between people include male and female, conservative and liberal, young and old, Democrat and Republican, black and white, rich and poor, King James and The Message, and so on. We make distinctions about people because we find it a useful (if erroneous) way to comprehend who a person is — what they think, what they believe, or what their role in life should be.

As Jesus followers we need to remember that, “In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female.” And by extension of the principle, no division into conservative and liberal, young and old, Democrat and Republican, black and white, or rich and poor. Our common relationship with Jesus Christ involves the laying down of such cultural, political and biological identities and presumption.

What are the implications of making such distinctions?
What are the consequences of not making such distinctions?
What kind of questions does this raise for you?

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8 Responses to “Making Distinctions”

  1. Peggy says:

    Great post, Rick … I’ve been pondering these thoughts this week as I’ve been meditating on Week 12 of Pentecost in Mosaic: Global Church Community.

    Implications: a way to approach the unity Christ prayed for concerning those who are his disciples.

    Consequences: grieving the Spirit by our divisions and confirming the perception of so many that we are hypocrites.

    Jesus said that the world would know we are his disciples by our love for one another.

    I’ve taken up a new discipline of reading/listening to the Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7) daily … and I agree with Bonhoeffer when he said that unless we are steeped in these words of Christ, we will not be capable of truly being his disciples. Jesus said that the disciple, when fully formed, will be like the Master.

    It’s a matter of choice: to be nourished by the Seed (Gospel) in order to trust and obey Jesus (and love one another) or to trust and obey man’s ideas about the Gospel (Seed-substitutes) and be spiritually malnourished. (HT to Neil Cole for this awesome word picture of Seed vs Seed-substitute).

    Blessings to you, Rick — this wee Virtual Abbess is grateful to be a friend of the Blind Beggar!

  2. Patti W says:

    I too say great post Rick!
    Why is it I want to put people and especially my christian brothers and sisters into boxes? ( my words) I want to make them fit into neat categories. Only I hate hate hate it when someone does it to me.
    I appreciate the Virtual Abbesses comments on being steeped in the words of Jesus.
    The Seed/Gospel says we are to love one another, no matter what the politics, race, social status, Christian views,etc.
    Satan loves to see us self destruct.
    I think meditating on the beatitudes is a great direction for the week.
    Bless you Rick!

  3. robbymac says:

    The one consequence that would be quite serous is that we would have to delete some clear Bible teaching about false teachers, false apostles, and not allowing the truth of the Gospel to be distorted.

    The Bible never warns us about being on guard against other races, the rich/poor, male and female, or generations (young or old).

    But it DOES warn about those who would corrupt the message. This is not in the same category as the other issues you mentioned.

  4. This is a tricky Scripture that has to read in the broader context of the Bible. Even then it comes down to a lot of presuppositions. For example, while there is no division between male and female, many would say this does not extend to the roles those genders play in the vocations of the Church. A simple, yet significant distinction.

    Further, not to dispute my wonderful brother & fellow YWAM maestro above, but Jesus does seem to give some pretty strong warnings against the dangers of wealth (though perhaps only tangentially of the wealthy).

    This is an important text to wrestle with, but we must be prepared that it raises more questions than it answers in many cases.

  5. Rick Meigs says:

    Thanks Peggy. I think you pointing to “the world would know we are his disciples by our love for one another” is important. Sounds like I need to check out the Mosaic Bible.

  6. Rick Meigs says:

    That is spot on Patti, we are to quick at putting Christian brothers and sisters into inappropriate boxes (I’m guilty). That is the thrust of the post.

  7. Rick Meigs says:

    Thanks Robbymac. Nice to see you dropping in. One could argue that false teachers, false apostles and the such are not part of Christ’s family, yet there is certainly a place for line drawing in such cases. Sadly, many draw that line at places scripture never intended. I once read a churches constitution that said if you were not a committed dispensationalist, you could not be a member of that body.

  8. Rick Meigs says:

    Jamie, I was hoping you would comment. Your voice is always sensitive and discerning.