I once visited Singapore during a Chinese New Year’s Celebration. I had never been among so many people before. I moved in time with the sea of local people as they expertly weaved their way around each other walking up and down the streets. Of all the things that stuck out to me in that beautiful city, were not the huge crowds, shops, lights, music, and colours, but instead the other people who looked like me. There was no way that my “us,” though scattered among the crowds, could be missed among “them.”
Everybody stands in a “them and us” paradigm.
From that moment when God confused the world’s languages until now, we have been dividing, grouping, and re-dividing for one reason or another. Whether grouped or scattered, our “tribes” are distinguished by race, language, traditions, religions, and philosophies—not to mention rich, poor, male, female, young and old.
Paul was not calling us to ignore the obvious when he said,
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
What is expected is the eradication of a “them and us” attitude among Christians when it comes to our common salvation and fellowship. Paul would not have enjoyed telling Christians that, despite their feelings of cultural or social superiority, no one is more saved than anyone else, and no one is more important than anyone else.
However, we live in a world of cultural and social differences. What God expects is the use of everything that is both unique and common to “us” to reach out to “them” who are outside of Christ.
In fact, we must be willing to even take on some of the differences of “them” to bring them into Christ.
With Paul we say:
“…I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).