Romans 12:16 Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. (The Message)
Have you noticed that Jesus could relate well to anyone? Tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes, Samaritans, – everyone that the Pharisees had an attitude about. What an example Jesus is for us. The Pharisees, on the other hand, appear to be a strong example for us on how not to relate to others. They put people into categories and were consumed with pride and arrogance. Their blindness to this condition caused them to miss the miracle-working Messiah who was right in front of them.
Unfortunately, there are cultural tendencies that we live with that encourage us to look down upon people that are members of various groups. This can lead us to be proud or arrogant about groups we might belong to. If we have experienced such condescension or discrimination, we know first hand how refreshing it is to have relationships where this negative baggage is not present; where we are treated as people of worth. Living out today’s verse is imperative for us, in all the circumstances of our lives: church, work, daily interactions, family and friends.
This verse triggers such wonderful memories of the Christian college where I worked in Franklin, Tennessee (Williamson Christian College). We experienced the blessing of having an incredible mix of students from about 18 different countries. We had home grown Americans, immigrants, refugees and foreign students. Although the majority of the students were Christian, there were any number of other religions represented including Hindu, Islam and Buddhist. We had the honor of serving them all – helping and enabling them to pursue their education.
Our college and curriculum were Christ-centered and the students all understood that. What an opportunity for us to live out our faith! It was reflected in how we as staff got along with and served one another. It was revealed in the quality of relationships that faculty and staff and students had with each other. Students were not required to become Christian to attend, but they knew they were going to be exposed to the Christian faith; both in terms of teaching and in the overall experience they had there. What an opportunity for us to demonstrate the Christian faith to be the real thing!
Note: Here is the website of this wonderful college: http://www.williamsoncc.edu