When our neighbors are our enemies

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.”  

~ G.K. Chesterton

“Those who say, ‘I love God’ and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”

~ First John 4.20, NRSV

When I was a child, I believed that Christians were practicing their faith both in church and at home.  In my twenties, I noticed that some Christians were great believers in church only.  They seemed to be on their best behavior but only in God’s house.  Now,  in my thirties, I see Christians who are not Christ-like in church.  I’m afraid of what I will discover once I turn forty.

As I’ve gotten older, my awareness has increased and with it, the volume of my lament over the dismembered Body of Christ.  I could not have imagined the depth of disconnection.  Sure, I was aware of the various denominations, theologies and styles of worship.  But, I never thought for a moment that we would not be able to worship our God together because of race.  I thought that our faith was greater than race, that we would set it aside when it came to Christianity, that people who pride themselves on being led by the Spirit of God could not be led by the social construct of race.

The truth is: we hate not only our neighbor but our brothers and sisters in the faith.  Christians hate other Christians because of the social coloring of skin.  Christians believe that they are better or worse than other Christians due racial stereotypes.  We choose not to worship with other believers because race has corrupted our theology, desecrated our worship and defiled the Body of Christ.  There is no such thing as Christian hatred.  Race has made liars of us all.  God, help us.

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