A foul mood is spreading across our society and the world these days. Dialogue seems to have been replaced by name-calling that is little related to truth. Broadcasters fill the air with divisive labels designed to wound. Sometimes we see the same malice in the arena of faith and religion. This kind of talk reduces difficult issues to slogans and stops us from seeing others as worthwhile individuals. However, each of us has the choice and ability to move beyond labels and categories.
What changed for me is meeting people who are different from me. I discovered that they have hopes and dreams like me. My study of scripture revealed that all people are of sacred worth. I learned that labels and categories can be used to lie and hide the truth, to injure and wound, to create fear and manipulate people. Words that make us suspicious of anyone who is different can make people into adversaries and enemies.
We read in Hebrews 13:1-2, "Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it." This counsel allows no exceptions. Any label or category that diminishes the worth of another person also diminishes us. As believers in Christ, we are called to honor every individual we meet as a person of sacred worth - nothing less.
-The Upper Room