Community and clique - part one

I wrote this in March after attending an annual camp with my favourite church. Perhaps most of them, being at least double or triple my age, have grown in maturity and love for God, for their neighbours. What an inspiring example!

Recently, in my M church, the speaker talked about how we share meals with those we love. And how the pharisees must have felt when Jesus was eating and laughing with those who were considered sinners, outcasts, of the community in his time.

When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. - Matthew 9:11

There are many things to learn here about God's love and mercy, our self righteousness and tendency to judge others. But here is also a mirror of how we close the doors of fellowship with those we feel uncomfortable around. Maybe they sometimes say inappropriate things, their sins seem greater than ours; or maybe they aren't as educated, not as smart, give "weird" answers in Bible study, not well dressed, aren't pretty enough, don't speak fluent English, have accents, different skin colours, different background, too senile, too childish, to be a part of our comfortable social circle.

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? ...If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”you are doing right. But if you show favouritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. - James 2:1-4, 8-9

Say I was a guy (because guys are normally superficial, so are girls to be honest, but less obviously so) and showed special attention to the pretty single female, slim, a lovely dress and expensive handbag, just the right amount of makeup, perfectly permed hair and manicured nails, and from the same country as me.  Then I ignore the slightly awkward guy, who doesn't dress fashionably, standing in the middle of the crowd by himself, and worst still, talks like a "FOB" (fresh off the boat for those who are kind enough not to use the word). Is that loving my neighbour? Or is that like the pharisee trying to pick the neighbours he'll show love to by asking, "who is my neighbour?" Not to mention, are you getting side tracked about why you're attending church or fellowship?

In S I really learnt what it meant by "it is more blessed to give than to receive" - Acts 20:35



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