Overcoming Divisions; May 2, 2019

Ephesians 2:19-20 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

Paul’s focus was on the barriers between Jews and Gentiles in general, but today the differences among various people-groups is very much in the news, whether or not it is in individual hearts and minds. The whole point is that in Christ, such differences no longer matter, period. Human beings are experts at creating differences, all the while demanding uniformity. God, in contrast, created infinite variety, but has provided for genuine unity through His Son. Countless Christians have discovered that their brothers and sisters in Christ are closer than blood relatives. When people fit into both categories the connection is indeed special, but not necessarily stronger. In society in general, however, divisions and barriers seem to be the order of the day. We are bombarded with news of “hate crimes,” as though there were such a thing as murder that wasn’t hateful. The news doesn’t like to recognize it as such, but in recent years persecution of Christians has continued to rise worldwide, with the bombings in Sri Lanka only being the most recent example. The pastor of one of the churches that was bombed gave an interview to a Christian agency in which he specifically and explicitly spoke forgiveness and love to those who had killed dozens of his church members. He confessed that there was anger there, but when Jesus said, “Father, forgive them,” from the cross, there was nothing that was not covered. That is what Paul is talking about here. When human beings focus on their differences, that’s like a Japanese proverb that says, “acorns comparing height.” From the human perspective, any differences among acorns are totally insignificant.

As a Caucasian in Japan, human differences are very much part of my life. I am part of a Facebook group of adult MKs, (Missionary Kids) and similar feelings are widely expressed. Many people bear scars from being excluded, not accepted, and not just MKs. However, the answer to them all is the way our Creator, our Father, accepts us in His Son. Thankfully, my wounds aren’t nearly as raw as they have been at times in the past. My job at this point is to express God’s love and acceptance to those around me, however they respond, just as that Sri Lankan pastor has done. I pray that I would never be tested that severely, but I also pray that my assurance of God’s love would be fully that strong.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I do continue to pray that Your name would be recognized as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, in Sri Lanka and everywhere else, specifically including right here where I am, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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