Biblically there’s a difference between the seven nations God told His people to beware…
1 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land…[of] the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, 2 …You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them.
Deuteronomy 7:1-2 (ESV)
…and the rest of the Gentiles—whom He COMMANDED His people to love:
18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 10:18-19 (ESV)
Likewise, there’s a difference between the world that a disciple of Christ hopes to reach…
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people…3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1, 3-4 (ESV)
…and the world that threatens that disciple’s soul:
4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them…11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
Ephesians 5:4-7, 11 (ESV)
My next post was supposed to be the newsletter updating my return to Dedza. God willing, it now will be. But much like the promotion of the rematch to a fight I wrote about while in the U.S., there’s some “unfinished business” scheduled for resolution tonight. Two Christians are going to fight – again – as Tyron Woodley fights Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson for a mixed martial arts welterweight championship.
While many thought the punishment Thompson took in that first fight amounted to a one-sided beating. Others saw his survival as a heroic part of a fight that was simply too close to call.
I’ll let you guess the general ethnic breakdown of those opinions.
But much like the build-up before the first fight, Thompson’s fans berated Woodley—and moved Thompson back to the front of the line for an immediate rematch. One his face didn’t seem to suggest he deserved.
Other excellent fighters are waiting, but any empathy that Thompson has for them seems to run a distant second to his personal ambitions. And again, any empathy that he had for Woodley was barely apparent—as his fans berated Woodley into a rematch, while ridiculing Woodley for even suggesting that racism has any role in his life as a fighter.
See the pattern? #compassionforwho
“Wonderboy” can be an incredibly courteous guy. But what’s courtesy without sincerity? …kindness without love? …sportsmanship without brotherhood?
I’m writing about this for the same reason I’ve written about other social issues that expose lingering ethnic divisions in the church. Beyond our open, obvious “Sunday morning” type divisions, there’s this false peace that I see replacing genuine affection. It’s an idol—an empty token offered to replace the shared suffering that produces genuine unity. Where kind, gracious words are plentiful…when they cost nothing to utter.
If he wins tonight, Stephen Thompson will almost assuredly be gracious as he gets what he wants. Even if he loses, like last time, he might even raise Woodley’s hand…
Either way, Thompson’s courtesies won’t genuinely bring him closer to Woodley—until he separates himself from the non-believers helping to promote his career…at his brother’s expense.
19 “You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit. 20 You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. 21 These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.
Psalm 50:19-21 (ESV)