2:299 – The Group Or The Person?
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I often wonder how people decide what they are going to do, who they are going to vote for, hang out with, follow, or just share life with. Are they making decisions based on the group or the individual person. Today, someone posted about democrats who are running locally in our country. Many people were saying vote red, vote for these folks if you want higher taxes, etc etc. This was without even looking at the candidates or what they stand for. They were part of a group and then must be like all other members of the group.
Likewise, many people see that if you don’t agree 100% with a church, that all the people are like that. Or those Christians are bad, so all Christians are bad. When I was talking to a friend about getting baptized and becoming Lutheran, he asked me if it was the good Lutherans or the bad Lutherans. He had heard about how some LCMS churches operate and equated all churches like that.
When we are looking to follow Jesus, we should look to follow him. Not a specific church or group of people. We find where he is present and worship there. It’s a case of not losing the forest for the trees.
“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. – Matthew 7:15-20
It’s hard to know who are false prophets without knowing God’s word. We want to pick and eat the fruit of the good trees. This is by following and sharing live with individuals who follow Jesus. We aren’t ignoring the other trees and bushes, we just aren’t following them.
We shouldn’t dismiss an individual because of the group they are part of. There are many in groups with different thoughts, ideas, and values. At the same time, we need to beware of what we let ourselves get caught up in.
You can have a group of apple trees and one be diseased. We can choose not to eat any fruit from any apples trees but then we would miss out on the good fruit. Jesus helps us know what fruit to eat and what not too. We just need to listen.
Look beyond groups and look to people. Find those that you can work with, talk to, and see what they really stand for before making a judgement. You will be surprised by what you find.
Lord, you have made us all different with many skills. You have also helped us belong in different groups, clubs, and activities. Help all of your children remember that even though someone is a member of a group, they are not all the same. We are uniquely made to serve a purpose in your plan. Give us the patience and energy to learn about each other as individuals and not make assumptions that may lead us astray. Help us to find those people of peace who are true prophets and followers of your word. They will ensure the fruit we have is good. In your gracious name, Amen.