Main Idea – We have a choice in how we perceive differences. The Bible teaches because of Jesus’ sacrifice for all people, we are to no longer judge each other according to demographic differences, or by what someone may have done in the past. Rather, because we have been reconciled to each other through our faith in Jesus, we are to bring others into that same place of reconciliation.
We have choices
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” John C. Maxwell
Believers should acknowledge the obvious diversity among themselves, but
should not evaluate – or judge each other - according to those differences.
A well-known story about Booker T. Washington – the founder of Tuskegee
Institute in Alabama in 1881 – relates how he gladly chopped wood for a wealthy white woman who had assumed he was a laborer. He made the choice to help the woman instead of becoming offended.
“Humility is something we should constantly pray for, yet never thank God that we have.” Booker T. Washington.
2 Corinthians 5: 16-18 – Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
Galatians 3:26 – For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The Father and Jesus are our witnesses
The Old Testament law required two or more witnesses to establish a legal decision.
Deuteronomy 19:15 – One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three
witnesses the matter shall be established.
Deuteronomy 17: 6-7 – Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death
on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness. The hands of the witnesses shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So you shall put away the evil from among you.
The story of Jesus and the adulterous woman in John 8: 1-11 shows how Jesus Himself fulfilled that law, but in a way the religious leaders were not anticipating.
Jesus and the Father acted as witnesses to proclaim the woman “not guilty” after all the accusing witnesses had withdrawn themselves.
This woman is an example of someone who had been ostracized, or pre-judged, by society and was reconciled back into a relationship with God and with society by Jesus.
John 7: 50-53 – Nicodemus (he who came to Jerusalem by night, being one of them) said to them, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” And everyone went to his own house.
John 8:7 – So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
John 8: 17-18 – “It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”
Jesus fulfilled the Law by delegitimizing the accusing witnesses and then replacing them by the witness of Himself and the Father.
A new circle of people
When Jesus acquitted the adulterous woman, He demonstrated God was gathering together a group of people outside the traditional Old Testament Law represented by the religious Pharisees.
In this new circle: believers work to do what is right, are forthright about their shortcomings, pray for each other, and do not show partiality.
James 5:16 – Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
James 2:9 – but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Acknowledge God’s presence
We do not need to invite God into our presence.
God is already with us. He is where you are, and where other believers are.
Interact person to person
If possible, each of us should be part of a physical church.
Although modern communication technology enables us to experience church
when we are unable to be physically present, a stronger relationship of
reconciliation among believers takes place face-to-face.
We need to know we have each other’s support; that we are in each other’s
Through relationships with other Christians we become reconciled with each
other and demonstrate our reconciliation with God.
Reflective Questions for Hue – man – i – ty – Part 3
What about the story of Booker T. Washington cutting wood is most meaningful to you? Have you ever witnessed someone who demonstrated that same type of humility?
Perhaps Mr. Washington was inspired by God’s humility of coming to earth in human form, and attempted to mirror that in his own life. What are some of the natural thoughts and emotions we have to overcome in order to be able to act in humility?
Do you agree the best type of human interaction and reconciliation takes place face-to-face? Why or why not?