Even a casual reader of the Bible would have to say that we are meant to be relational people. We’re “our brothers keeper,” “two are better than one,” Jesus spends his time with people, and not just people that are on board with his mission, not just people that agree with him. Yes, he is with his disciples much of the time, but he’s also with oppressive tax collectors (nothing in common with today’s tax collectors, so don’t even try), prostitutes, adulterers, and everyone in between. Our lives are supposed to be intertwined with others.
There are SO many reasons why this is significant, but right now I just want to talk about one. It is harder to be unloving when we’re in relationship with someone. It seems that God knows that something happens to our hearts when we know someone personally.
In other words…
If all we know of illegal aliens is what we see on Fox News, then we don’t really care what happens to them or their families, we just want them gone. But if we know one personally and have looked into her eyes and seen her as flesh and blood that Jesus died for, things change. If we see her not as a criminal trying to game the system, but as someone desperately trying to provide for her loved ones, it’s harder to generalize and put her into the category of parasite.
If all we know of corporate CEO’s is what you hear on MSNBC, then all we know is that they hate: women, minorities, and the poor. But if we knew one personally, we might see that those things are untrue. We may or may not agree with their methods, but that they just have different ideas on how to achieve the same goals that we have.
If all I know of welfare recipients is what talk radio tells me, then I’m angry and feel used. But if I know one, I might see that he works more than one job. That hungry children are waiting at home. That he must pray that his car starts every morning. That sometimes he has to decide between working or staying at home with a sick kid. It might make it harder to hurl generalizations on facebook.
Relationship is kryptonite to self-righteousness!
The point is not a political one. We can have our opinions, but those opinions must be covered in love, and we must see in others, the image of God in which they were created.