Treat Everyone Equally

When most of you read this post, I will be in the air on my way to Mexico to visit the Tijuana Christian Mission. I’m going with three members of our church’s pastoral staff partly so that I can rejuvenate our mission ministry.

One of my small groups is studying James right now. As always, what we study seems to have immediate application. Twice early in his letter, James teaches on respecting everyone. Everyone in the community is equal before God. We should not feel either inferior or superior. We should not treat others as superior or inferior.

That’s one of the things I admire about Pope Francis, by the way. In an organization that retains most of the medieval trappings of power and authority, he is trying to bring some other traditional Christian teachings into the church.

I have traveled internationally enough to intentionally try not to be the “typical American.” But often I’m at engineering conferences. This is a different trip. I’ll be the only engineer. James’ teachings will be at the front of my mind. Although (probably as an American) I seldom recognize personally superiority or inferiority, going on a mission trip with the poor and dispossessed will be different, for sure.

James teaches two things early in his letter–respect for others and awareness of our own motivations. Nowhere does this come out as much as during travel into other cultures. Should be an interesting time.

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