Exploring the Social Imagination

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

God's Social Program

God's Social Program
God the creator of heaven and earth of all that is seen and unseen put a social program in us. He said "love thy neighbor as thyself." Lev 19:18 and Mt 19:19

What does it mean to love thy neighbor as yourself if you can't even talk to your neighbor in English, or about the same things/ideas/traditions? As a sociologist and social psychologist I can tell you that is not likely...Why? Because, people naturally gravitate to those things/people/places that they were taught to 'like' or appreciate or believe in. Does this mean that Christians cannot love non Christians? No, it means that you can love them for who they are which is loving them for being different. That is all. It does not mean you have to share your life with them; unless you choose to. We don't have to take the relationship any further than that unless we want to. It is easier to love other Christians and as Christians we absolutely should do that. As for others, we should just witness to them, so that they will turn to Christ.
I was at church on Sunday and there were people of all races/ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds as revealed by their obvious physical differences. Yet, on the inside... I knew that they were Christians and when we smiled at each other or shook hands, I was shaking the hand or smiling at another Christian. The color of skin was gone, we could have been blue or green or pink it would not matter. This is the point. Differences disappear when people are on the same page mentally-spiritually! Social problems too disappear basing on the same reasoning. Even economic differences disappear when we know we are and or have been made the same through Jesus Christ. Those having more will give more to those Christians having less. They give it freely as they should to their Christian brother/sister. Can Christians give to others outside of Christianity, yes and they should if they feel the need to do that but in doing so, impress on those non Christians recipients that their gift is coming from God our Lord and true Savior Jesus Christ. Loving your neighbor is not a burden. It should not be and does not have to be... God wants you to rest in Him. If your neighbor is different from you, pray for his/her to be delivered, to be saved through the recognition and acceptance of Jesus Christ. Then and only then we will be able to love our neighbors as ourselves. There is no greater glory for/to God than bringing someone to Christ.
So many discussions have come and gone and still go on as to how this is either impossible or possible... to love thy neighbor as thyself. Imagining as a person might outside of believing in  God/Jesus Christ, the same scenario / social situation exists. No one cares to or even thinks about another person unless that other person is like him/herself; unless that other person exhibits something that the other person appears to have/know or desire and including aspire to. People with money draw people with money. People with similar backgrounds, similar preferences physical and spiritual draw like people. Simple as that. So if you think a top down government can make everyone the same, like each other... they can and it will be orchestrated that way and not of free choice. Christ came to remind us that we have free will in all situations, all social situations. And to make wise choices for ourselves, He knows too that programs have to be compatible. Read Acts 17:24 Why? Because, it asks each and every one of us to reach out to God, to be in a relationship with Him. Because, the number one important reason for loving your neighbor as yourself is to glorify God. The reason is to understand yourself as a social entity and social problem solver... however, the way forward to understanding yourself and being a social problem solver is to first be in a relationship with the Creator... and then the way forward is much easier personally and socially and social problems that do appear are less conflictual and less detrimental individually and socially. Your neighbor appears as a brother/sister and not your enemy. Romans 15:5 "May God who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. The all of you can join together with one voice giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

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