Us vs. Them

By Dave Henning / August 31, 2013

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.” -Pogo Possum

Pastor John Ortberg continues his discussion of Jesus’ command to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5: 44) in Chapter 7 of Who is This Man? by noting that this teaching of Jesus is quite possibly the most famous as well as the most violated.  That’s because it is human nature to take sides, to divide the human race into us versus them– two most powerful words.  Pastor Ortberg the characterizes and contrasts being in the “in group” (us) with membership in the “out group” (them).

If people are members of our “in group”:

1.  Their good qualities are magnified.

2.  Their bad qualities are overlooked.

3.  They are viewed as unique individuals.

If people are in the out group:

1.  We look for their bad qualities.

2.  We overlook their good qualities.

3.  They aren’t distinct individuals- they’re all alike.

As the author states, “Jesus treats people on the other side as if they are people on our side.  He doesn’t just love us.”  Pastor Ortberg adds that a saying from The Godfather– “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”- takes on an entirely different meaning when we picture Jesus saying those words.

Understanding and affirming that Jesus loves those involved in our ministry downsizing or vocation loss may not change them at all, but it will make a world of difference in our own hearts.

Today’s question: Have you reached the point where you can forgive those responsible for your loss?  How has that changed your life?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Holy vs. sinful”

About the author

Dave Henning

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