It wasn't a new problem; nation vs. nation and people group against people group has been around for a while. Yet this event certainly sparked a new wave, especially for those in areas of the world Geoff and I frequent the most; the United States and the Middle East.
On a day when when we remember the many lives lost I've also been wondering about what more was lost. We lost the ability to see so many from other cultures as neighbors. We profile without taking time to know the stranger. In our ignorance, prejudice is not limited even to Arabs as we confuse the beautiful skin tones of the world and react with fear from anything different from our own.
The post 9/11 worldview reflected in this conversation and so many like it represent the incredible threat we face in responding to the call of loving our neighbor as ourselves in a world of us vs. them, nation vs. nation, and so on. Racial profiling is nothing new. Yet the global scale of fear in response to 9/11, that so many Americans look at their Muslim neighbors or Arab Christians with the assumption of fear, is a great loss. That a woman going grocery shopping in Dallas wearing a head covering because it's how she was raised would be feared by fellow shoppers without cause is the continuing tragedy of this anniversary.
When we're hurt as a nation we pull together, which is a good thing, but it's hard not to build the wrong kind of walls keeping others out. Us vs. Them is never a good default and too often I've seen patriotism, nationalism, and race used as barriers rather than bonds. When we find our identity in such meager appointments as these earthly realities we risk missing the goal of our pursuits entirely.
and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
But our citizenship is in Heaven.
- Philippians 3:19-20
What it is for a country or citizen to be "free" means different things to different people. Instead of going into all of those distracting ideals I just want to remember the one TRUE Freedom. True Freedom is not offered by any nation, political structure, or earthly existence. True Freedom is only available in JESUS.
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Galatians 5:13-14
1 John 4:18-19