Early in my faith journey I found studying the Israelites so frustrating. They had to be the most stiff necked people ever. The constant cycle of rebellion, repentance, deliverance was so tedious to me until I realized — I am no different. I need to study their stupidity, because it is no different from my own. My whole perspective changed when I realized that it was not “those people” who couldn’t see that God’s redemption was there all along, but I don’t live knowing that God’s redemption is there for me – always.
I studied the plight of the Hebrews and their rebellion against God as “those people”. It was not until I realized that there is no “those people” there is only us and God. And that most of the conflict we face comes from our thoughts about “those people”.
Teachers think of students as those people
Old people think of young people as those people
Whites think of blacks as those people
Fat think of thin as those people
Rich think of poor as those people
Haves think of have-nots as those people
Christians think of Muslims as those people
Americans think of immigrants as those people
This generation thinks of that generation as those people
And all of those again vice versa and many, many more!
Sean McDowell once said, “How you view this generation will shape the way you relate to them.” If we think of our students, or young people, as lazy, entitled, internet dependent, device addicted — that’s how we will treat them, as less than. If we think of them as the next generation, whose world is different than the one we grew up with and our mission is to help them make their world a better place — what a difference our approach will be. This doesn’t just apply to teaching. It applies to how we deal with others period. We have to see others as valuable, young, old, black, brown, poor, rich, disabled — all of us!
As a Christian, I must look at others and see — wow, WE need Jesus!!
People don’t grow where they are informed — they grow where they are accepted.Bob Goff
We are all driven by the need for acceptance, yet struggle with being accepting. How much better our world would be if we were all just “those people”!