Cover 2018-12-09

Ron Writes

Us and Them

Monte Cox in his book “Significant Others: Understanding Our Non-Christian Neighbors” discuses “Us and Them” in his introduction. It got me thinking. You are part of “us.” Whatever group you identify with becomes “us.” All of us, both the left and the right belong to an “us.” If “us” is American, “them” would be everyone else. If you identify as a Democrat, that would be “us” and the Republicans would be “them.” If you are a Christian, then that would be “us” and everyone else would be “them.”

“Us” are those who have something in common. Maybe it’s a common value or a shared belief. Maybe it’s as innocent as Black-White, Male-Female, Gentile- Jew. As soon as we become an “us” there becomes a “them.” “Them” is the “other” – not “us”. The other day I attended a concert of a group trying hard to be inclusive. However, it didn’t take long for them to begin talking about “us.”

There’s not anything necessarily wrong with “us.” There are no bad guys until we make it “us” versus “them.” We become suspicious of “them.” When explorers discovered new lands, they assumed the natives were inferior. “They” had strange customs and ways of dressing. “They” spoke their own language.” “They” were looked upon as ignorant animals. However, it was discovered later that “they” loved their families and had a sense of right and wrong. Ingroup prejudices and bias can lead to hatred. Just look at the “us” versus “them” for the Nazis toward the Jews. It can lead to some serious consequences when it’s “us” versus “them.” In our culture Christians are often looked at as “them.”

This concept led one preacher to ask “Are we the other’s keepers?” Our goal isn’t necessarily to create an all inclusive “us.” Jesus said “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who in in heaven” (Mt. 5:44-45). It’s to love others so it doesn’t become “us” versus “them.” “Them” are not our enemies. Jesus went to lunch with “them” and got to know “them”. He certainly looked at “them” differently than we often do. It’s not us against Muslims, Calvinists, homosexuals, or even those who persecute us. It’s not “us” versus “them.” We are to love all of “them.”