Scripture: 1 John 5:1-6
Those that love the parent loves the child. This verse struck me today as I reflected on it. I considered the relationships that I have with various families. Those that attend our Meeting as well as those I know from other places. I observed that I am much more patient with the kids from our Meeting than the ones that run around the store. They act the same, mainly because they are kids, but I am friends with the parents of the ones I worship with, the others are just… annoying.
This got me to thinking. Why am I getting annoyed with kids? Now don’t get me wrong I love kids, I just observed a small difference. After reading this passage I know why that is. Then I got to thinking about the parents, what causes me to reguard people differently. I found that I do not always treat people equaly, I have a tendency to gravitate toward people that share similarities with me.
Equality is a tenet of sorts in the Friends Church. Through our history we have been in the front of equal rights. We have always recorded female ministers, we were greatly involved in ending the slave trade, and we spoke up for equal rights for all people. If this aspect of faith is important to my expression of worship I have to ask why I reguard people differently? It bothers me to think that I live my life with a form of prejudice. I wrestled with this for a while, I even caught myself trying to justify my actions saying, “Its ok I don’t know them and if I did I would treat them the same.” But when will I get to know them if I am treating someone with a prejudice?
Before you get the wrong idea I must say that I am not speaking of a prejudice against race, gender, or something like that, but of something that is at the root of all prejudice. The unwillingness to reach out to others in friendship. If I fail to attempt to build a friendship with someone, it can quickly morph into something deeper and more sinister. I can begin to develope stereotypes or biases based not on truth but on shallow observations.
We are called to love, because God is love. We are called to love the children of God. The children of God are the ones for whom Christ died for as an attoning sacrifice. It does not matter where your theological stance, this literally means to love all people. Love them if they are like you, or different in some way. Love them if you agree with them or disagree. Love them if they love God right now or if they are turnin their back on Him. John says it is an easy command, what do you think. It is often hard to love people who are judgmental, prideful, filled with self pity, or who lie. (The list is longer but I think we have the picture) But Jesus did. He loved the unlovable when he reached out His hand to touch and heal those with lepresy. He loved the woman caught in adultery. He was friends with cheaters, haters, and violent zealots. He did not really care who you were He treated everyone with an equal amount of respect. Why then am I so hesitant to share a gift of friendship with others?
I am challenged today to be more open with others, since by nature I am fairly shy, this will be challenging to me. But I’m not challenged to try to convert others, but to become friends, to respect others as the people they were created to be. What challenge is God giving you as you consider and pray with this passage?