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Thursday, October 16, 2008

All things to all people?

Nobody thinks exactly like anyone else. If they do, one of them is redundant. Nonetheless, of course, there are similarities in people's ways of thinking, be the people grouped as "conservative," "professional," "Hispanic," "retired," "college students," or in some other grouping.

Paul, the Apostle, challenged us to reach all sorts of people. As he said:
1 Corinthians 9:20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (ESV)

Paul was right. I need to reach out to people who aren't a lot like me.

But I think Paul may have been exaggerating. All things to all people? Not quite. Paul had probably never had the care of one or more little children. To state the obvious, he had never been a woman. He had not yet been aged and infirm. And, possibly most important, he had never been ignorant. I suppose that he could understand these types of people fairly well, but he had never truly walked in their shoes. Could he reach them? I'm sure he did.

I can't truly become someone I'm not. I'll never be African-American, or a woman, or Hispanic, for example. I hope I'll never be addicted to some drug, medicinal or otherwise. But I can do my best to understand people who are women, who are of an ethnic background different than mine, or who are or have been drug addicts, and love them for Christ.

Thanks for reading.

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