I am under obligation both the Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. Romans 1:14
A barbarian referred to anyone who did not speak Greek. This language dominated all art, culture, and education. To be a barbarian was to be outside of the respected mainstream. A person who was not able to speak and read the language suffered a stigma.
To be outside the mainstream, whether in society at large or within a smaller group, is to know the pain of exclusion. There are so many ways you and I can be different. Racially, we can be part of a minority and feel others’ disgust. We can be the brunt of racial slurs and jokes. Educationally, we can fail to possess a degree others perceive we need to be taken seriously. Our opinions are dismissed. We can be discounted by the rich because we came from humble beginnings. We can be discounted by the poor because they believe we fail to understand what it means to be poor. The list of things is long that can keep us on the outside.
The Gospel is for everyone. Paul knew that he was called to bring the message of Christ across all barrier lines. Jesus didn’t bring the Gospel to the wealthy or the wise first. He took it to poor villages and to the common people. The religious elite found that offensive.
Jesus is a stumbling block, to everyone, in every station of life. His message of sin and the need for repentance is not naturally palatable whether you are rich, poor, educated or uneducated, Jewish or Gentile. Once my eyes are open to His identity and my ears are open to His message, I am under the same obligation to bring His message of salvation to everyone regardless of who they are.
There are biases in most every family if we’re careful to listen and pick up on attitudes. I’ve had to repent for some prejudices in my family that I inherited. I am learning to love as Jesus loves and I’ve got a long way to go. My love can not be conditional. Jesus’ call to sinners had no racial, educational, or financial qualifications. He said, “Come!” “Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight.” Aren’t you glad!
There is no one You don’t love. There can be no one from whom I can withhold Your love if I have Your heart. Wake me up to the ways I discriminate. Amen