Taking a brief hiatus from the “Calling” series …
I attended a seminar about diversity at work recently. Rather than focusing on “race” or “disability,” like others I have attended did, this seminar focused on “difference.” The point of the seminar was to make us aware that there are dozens of ways people can be different from one another. (Height, weight, age, race, gender, religion, politics, handed-ness, economic status, work ethic, cleanliness habits, punctuality, etc. In the seminar, during one of the group activities, we compiled a list of 58 unique things.)
Each set of “this\that” represents different perspectives, values and experiences. Each set can produce different expectations, actions and reactions.
There is a lot of debate currently about one particular subset of the general population choosing a particular lifestyle. The family of God believes this lifestyle is wrong. A lot of the general society believe the lifestyle is OK. Part of the debate is how God’s family should respond.
A part of God’s family believes this lifestyle should be condemned loudly and frequently. Another part of God’s family highlights God’s love and acceptance, and maintains that we should behave the same way towards these people.
I would like to share a few points that seem to me to be pertinent to this discussion.
(1) God is holy. He does say we should expose sin. So, why is part of God’s family busy exposing “this” sin, and ignoring stealing, lying, gluttony, and greed? God commands us to live a life of thankfulness. Anyone rememb4er hearing sermons condemning negativity? Scripture says be holy and expose sin. It does not give us the right to pick and choose.
(2) God is love. He commands us to walk in love. The family of God is commanded to love everybody … including sinners.
(3) Jesus condemned sin and he loved and accepted sinners. What God commands seems to be in tension. Jesus was able to obey both commands perfectly; but we probably will not be able to do so. But we are called to work through the tension and obey the whole counsel of God. We don’t have the right to choose what command we obey. If we are part of God’s family, we are required to submit to the Father and obey him … in whatever he says.
(4) It was probably the diversity seminar, but I was reminded of a passage of Scripture, where the writer condemns “favoritism” or “partiality.” The example given was giving the rich favorable treatment over the poor. But given multiple passages of Scripture that demonstrate that God accepts all cultures, classes, and all types of sinners, maybe we need to make sure we are not giving favoritism to one group against another group. In that passage, God says that favoritism is sin