They “R” us

th-2If I knew how to make a backwards “R” with my computer I would. Anything to help us remember this.

Today, inspired by U2’s lyric “There is no them; there is only us,” Deanne reminds us of the line that made the cartoon Pogo famous: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

It does bring another twist to this thinking, which I think is so important primarily because it is not what we naturally think (which means it must be true!). If there is only us, then “us” becomes all-encompassing. The enemy is us, the sinner is us, the invalid is us, the mentally ill is us, the hungry is us, the poor is us, the rich is us, the criminal is us, the famous is us, the successful is us, the homosexual is us, the transgender is us, the terrorist is us, the soldier is us, the priest is us … I could finish out this Catch with more types and descriptions, but I am sure you get the point now.

This is why Jesus made it clear to not judge anyone, because when you judge someone you are judging yourself. That would make sense since they are us. There is no them. In this context, “them” is a judgment, and the reason we can’t judge is that there isn’t anything that sets us apart from anyone else.

That’s why we embrace everyone. Forgive everyone. Have mercy on everyone. Do you want any part of this for yourself? Then you must give all of it to everyone. What? You get forgiven and the next guy doesn’t? How is that possible? It’s not.

If everyone is us, then I need to love everyone, extend God’s grace to everyone, and see everyone as equally valuable in God’s eyes. Is your sin not so bad that God would forgive you and not someone else with a worse sin than you? How absurd is that? Is there a sin gauge? Everyone below the “really bad sin” line is forgiven, but above that … forget it?

This is where I believe God would have us innocent to other people’s errors — so grateful for our own mercy that we can’t possibly even think of not extending that same mercy to everyone else, no questions asked.

This is what Paul means when he writes over and over again, “Grace and mercy to you.” No discrimination. Everybody gets it.

Lately I‘ve been working four days a week in a local library. Once a week, at least a half a dozen young men come in and take over the computers. They all have dark pants, white shirts and black ties and they all have a permanent name tag that say “Missionary Elder, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” If there’s anyone I have a tendency to judge, it’s these guys. “Why don’t they get their own computers? Doesn’t the church have enough money for that?” But in doing so, I am judging myself. I’m pitting my self-righteousness against theirs and saying mine isn’t as bad. But what’s to say they aren’t self-righteous at all — just a bunch of really good kids trying to do the right thing. Hats off to them. May they find the grace of Jesus. If we were going to compare virtue for virtue (and we are not, because it is useless) they are probably more virtuous than me, anyway, so I don’t even want to go there. I want to extend them mercy as God has done for me.

See what happened here? I met the Mormons and the Mormons are us.

bm567

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13 Responses to They “R” us

  1. ngamissmartha@aol.com says:

    Can’t we extend grace and still ” s

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. ngamissmartha@aol.com says:

    Can’t that mercy and grace include “speaking the truth in love?” The Mormon’s believe the Bible is flawed and believe that Jesus became a God through good works. They created their own “bible”, the Book Of Mormon. If our ” grace and mercy” does not extend to “how shall they know if their is no one to tell them”, how can we fulfill Our mission on earth to witness and introduce people to The Son of God?

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    >

    • Mark Seguin says:

      I liked this and did get a good lil chuckle over it: “I met the Mormons and the Mormons are us.” because I got! 🙂 In my wording the Mormons they are just like ‘us’ in that we all sinner in need a of a Savoir!
      PS plus years ago I “met” on-line and become very good friend’s with a Mormon, I just like this guy and ‘felt’ his love 4 God and other people many times through his writings on this Christian Discussion board – Also he, brother Daniel taught me or led me to this verse out of First John (don’t seem to be able to remember the chapter & verse) yet a Mark’s paraphrase: if any man calls Jesus the Son of God, then he is your brother. That verse greatly helped me to stop arguing, or disagreeing w/ my Roman Catholic Church (RCC) brother & sisters, because as brother Daniel used to ‘say’ similar to Pastor John first find areas or things to agree on, when meeting others in the Market Place then maybe after a friendship is established is might be better after that to start discussing other things, or as I have learned the very good ‘saying’ in Amway “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” And Mormons even the RCC do say Jesus is the Son of God.
      So maybe just maybe ngamissmartha@aol.com consider that, before you may as you wrote: “speaking the truth in love?” Please consider or a least think about how you, like most people, re-act when you’re told you’re wrong – more than likely all your going to do is try to defend yourself and then you might not be in the best position to have an open discussion where love can flow between you and another person, yet it’s kind of hard to do that, or come to that space when you begin: “The Mormon’s believe the Bible is flawed…” Which I am sure they think the very same about us, so why not become them and try to get into their shoes for a bit, before Judging them?

      • Carole says:

        I like what you have said here Mark. I think “getting into someone’s shoes for a bit” is the way to go in most situations.

  3. Peter says:

    Hi John – greetings from the UK! I agree with what you are saying in principle but sometimes the practice of it is so hard. Especially when applied to those we would say are worthy of their fate – the murderer in prison becoming a Christian. Or extend it further to some of the dictators – mass murderers etc. I am glad I am not God who has to make the call on these things but from a human point fo view it seems so unjust. I guess that means I have a poor view of my own sin compared to how God sees my sin.

  4. Some of us from our church are going downtown tomorrow morning to care for the homeless. It’s so easy to get into that “us and them” comparison. And it sure makes a difference if you arrive without “us and them” in your vocabulary!!

  5. I saw a good movie yesterday that illustrates well the mercy, forgiveness and non-judgemental attitude you’re talking about, John – Philomena. It’s about a girl who has a child out of wedlock in Ireland back in the 1950s. Her family disowns her, nuns take her and her baby in, they sell the baby to rich Americans, and then make her work for four years for their abbey to pay for her baby’s delivery and her upkeep. When she’s elderly, a cynical journalist agrees to help her find her now adult child. There are many issues flying around here that require a lot of forgiveness and mercy. It’s interesting how each person involved – the lady, the journalist, the nuns and the adult child – handle them. I highly recommend it.

  6. Brad says:

    With our earthly perspective, we find it easy to group people into us and them…because it’s easy to see how different we are from each other. But from another perspective, where God is the Other, where God is set apart…the creator and we are the creation…He is the potter, we are the clay…then it seems downright silly to sit here and categorize people. All of us humans here on earth are so, so, so much the same in comparison to God. It’s kind of like on a baseball team, the infielders being the “us” and the outfielders being “them”…or since I’m from Canada (and we are going a little hockey crazy here right now), it’s the forwards being “us” and the defence being “them”…and the truth is that we are clearly on the same team…we are wearing the same jerseys! Our differences, no matter how great, melt away in comparison to our corporate difference to the Creator God!

  7. Gary says:

    Sorry I have a side note. How long is it going to take to recieve the 12th Part of your “New Relationship with God” ? Thank You.

  8. Frank says:

    …HMMM – i met the Unitarian?Calvinist, seal clubbing KKK ists – and they are US? WHO Is excluded? So then, even upon that day -when granted a Seat – we will cast our crowns…
    “Worthy are You, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
    for YOU created all things,
    and by Your will they existed and were created.”

    Racham /rachamim – hesed – eleos -splanchna/splagchnizomai – oiktirmos/oiktiro

    Mercy.

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