Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2: 10

 

God did not intend for people to be divided. At first we were close to Him in everyway possible, and we were intimately connected to the world where we lived. Although the duration of humanity’s story that has been lived out in the full expression of God’s design is very short, I believe that it, in conjunction with the descriptions of the restoration models that God’s word grants to us, demonstrates clearly the fact that everything that separates and divides people has been caused by our own willful departure from God’s desire for relationship with us. This has resulted in violence against people and against creation, illness and pain, untimely death of all sorts, and the oppression of some in order to elevate others.

 

As we are born into this world, we are at best a tribe. There are far too many divisive issues in each of our birth legacies for us to be anything more than that. We are bred to hate and to separate. These characteristics are in our DNA. The great universal divisors of people such as gender and race are, in fact, significant parts of what is beautiful and even sacred in the manner that God imparted His image into us. However, our sinful hearts have perverted these God-image aspects of humanity in order to find cause for hatred, superiority, and oppression. All of this leads us further down the death spiral of alienation from each other and from God.

 

However, God does not relent in His plans and desires. He intended for humanity to be a great, singular people who would live together celebrating our diversity while benefiting all with the peaceful relational harmony that comes solely from its source in Christ. This is the hope that is granted to us by God’s unsurpassed mercy. Seeking to comprehend, view, and appreciate others in this manner is our individual and collective calling from God. As we value, engage with, and walk into life together with people who are unlike us and set aside the artificial differences of race, gender, nationality, and wealth, we are taking the steps that are needed in order to leave behind the tribal hut of our birth and enter into the glory of God’s kingdom.