Today, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people gathered throughout the United States to demand a change in our nation’s policies on guns. This March for our Lives is a long overdue process toward better accountability when it comes to such lethal weapons.
However, it is only one side of a multi-faceted problem. One of the major problems we face in our nation is a lack of respect for each other. Once you begin to devalue other human beings, it becomes easier to kill them. This goes hand-in-hand with the continued us versus them mentality that has consumed our way of life and our politics.
It is our calling as Christians to love our brothers and sisters as well as those who are strangers. The Holy Scriptures repeatedly tell us to respect one another, to love on another, and to accept one another as we would Christ. Sadly, many Christians today engage in devaluing of our fellow human beings for many reasons. Some Christians use race, gender, sexual identity, nationality and social status to separate people from the Body of Christ.
And even more disturbing is the continued use of the term “illegal” to refer to our fellow human beings. No one is illegal. And we as Christians must stop using this divisive and demoralizing term to refer to our brothers and sisters.
Saint Paul tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28 NIV.) Scripture reminds us that, “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:34 NIV.)
And further more we are warned, “This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things (Note: Refers to idolatry in the Hebrew) before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.” (Ezekiel 16:49-50 NRSVCE.)
If we do not want to have Sodom and Gomorrah rise up to accuse us before God, then we must value each human being. We must respect each other, treat those who are different or foreigners as part of our family. It is important that we show everyone the love of God. We must give them the respect they deserve as bearers of the Spark of the Divine.
Let us resolve to respect each other and to shine the light and love of Christ to all those we meet!