"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." -- Genesis 1:27
People like us...this sentence has been playing in my head for days now. There are times when an idea percolates in my brain and won't leave me alone until I write about it and get it out of my system. This is one of those times. There are many ways you change the phrase "people like us" just by the inflection of your voice or the word in the sentence that is stressed. It can really change the meaning of the phrase, AND, that phrase can be used to explain much about our world and society today.
PEOPLE like us. Human beings are all people. While we all look different in many ways, our bodies work in basically the same way. We all have a brain and a heart and blood and complicated body systems that keep us alive. It helps me at times to remember this fact. When I am feeling intimidated by someone for whatever reason, I am more able to deal with that person when I remember how much I have in common with him or her. I have a loving nurse friend who once told me something that, while a bit crude, puts everything into perspective. "Everybody poops." It's true. Every one of us, even the most beautiful, perfect, intelligent person who intimidates me has to deal with eliminating waste from their human body. Knowing that has helped me in several situations!
People LIKE us. We all want to belong. Even most of the loners among us have a need to belong and fit in. Some of us care more about this than others, but we all seem to want to be liked by at least a few people in our lives. Some people, like me sometimes, seem to worry about this too much. We want people to like us so badly that we will put our own wants, needs or desires aside just so another person or group of people will like us and want to be with us.
People like US. Now, this one can get us unto trouble. Since we want to be liked so much, we sometimes find others that have similar characteristics, hobbies, traits or even the same skin color or same religion and group ourselves with them to the exclusion of others. We also are good at putting others outside our group into categories as well. I think our minds are also built to put things into categories or groups. Remember the old Sesame Street song, "One of these things is not like the other?" However, we seem to forget the part where we are all people...we are ALL made in God's image no matter what makes us different. We fear those who are different. We don't understand people who are different because we don't open our minds and hearts enough to let God help us understand them and help us love them the way we should.
So, why was this topic so important that it wouldn't leave my head until I wrote about it? Well, I think it's because I wish all PEOPLE would think about this phrase a little bit more before they use it. When you think about it, we are ALL people like US. We are all in need of love, grace, forgiveness and acceptance. Isn't that what Jesus taught us?
"Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -- Matthew 22:36-40
If you loved your neighbor, who is a PERSON, just like you, as much as you love yourself, and treated them as such, wouldn't this be a better, more peaceful world?