(June 26, 2013)
We humans are tribal in nature. We always want to look to the “other” as our enemies while sorting into smaller groups we can consider “us.” We can see this in the initial reaction of the Jewish saints to Peter’s (and the Lord’s) actions in bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles. They were, at first, upset but they ultimately accepted the will of the Lord (how could they fight against it).
Contrast the actions of the believers in submitting to those less-strongly attached to the faith. A little later in Acts, we see a congregation of Jews who stone and tried to kill the Apostles for the crime of converting more Gentiles than Jews. Look at Romans 14, and the fact that it was necessary. There are, of course, other examples.
It seems that this attempt at division is considered necessary for many of us. But, as we draw closer to the Lord, we become willing to give up these divisions and look at people as “us” rather than “other.” I would dare say that this may be a way for us to determine how close we are to the Lord – think of those who differ from us and ask ourselves whether they are “us” or “other.” If they are “other,” we probably have some work to do on our own souls.