I am thinking about tribes! We see white & black tribes, political tribes, religious tribes, national tribes, ethnic tribes, all with clenched fists and no outstretched hands or hearts. We read and hear the news and it is bad news, hateful, and hurtful! Jesus got it right, “There will be wars and rumors of wars,” before He returns. We seem to have arrived!
When you hear of racial riots in Ferguson, MO or of war between Palestinian and Israeli, you may not think in terms of tribes or tribalism, but behind it all is the TRIBE. It is tribalism that divides us and keeps entire nations apart. Politicians make decisions along tribal lines only, seldom “crossing the aisle” where the other tribe lives. The result is stalemate, and America is a house divided. We are tribal.
Because I do ministry in Africa, I do know something about tribalism. In Africa it is front page, out in the open, declared and bloody tribalism. Tribalism in no secret, but rather a way of life. Yet, somehow we here in our western civilized and highly advanced cultures have convinced ourselves we are beyond the bush and the bushman social mores. From my point of view, all we have done is change the bow and arrow for an AK47! Our 21st Century moderns are on a warpath that can destroy us all. We are being tribal when Arabs want to annihilate every Jew, and a rapidly increasing tribe of militant Muslims want to annihilate anyone else who disagrees with them about who God is and what God prefers!
Which brings me to ask this – is there any tribalism worse than religious tribalism? I think not. Mankind’s inhumanity to man is closely linked to his religious beliefs. The God you serve and the God you believe in will ultimately determine how you treat others. That is why Rabbi Jesus pointed to two laws of God and made them inseparable:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart; and you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
Great advice to those who war and kill in the name of their god. I recommend we go back and look closely at the prayer Christ prayed in John 17. This prayer is his “high priestly” petition to God the Father of us all. Jesus prayer for all mankind is that we may be “ONE.” Not one nation, or one tribe, but one mankind under the banner of God’s Kingdom of grace, mercy, and love. His hope was that by God’s grace we would turn our swords into plowshares. That we could find the courage to go beyond our tribal differences and make peace with one another. Tragically, we are not “ONE.” We are many, and getting worse every day. God help us.
I am going to try it today! I am going to make an effort to love someone different from myself! I am going to see others as God sees them and act accordingly. May God help me do it! You too my friend!