Group Think

Our human nature, especially in social groups, is the tendency to define ourselves by who is in and who is out. Those on the inside are accepted and privileged, and those on the outside, “the others,” are not. Since people, made in the image of God, are also sinful, this tendency toward “group think” can result prejudice, acts of injustice, and even violence. We have a special responsibility to love all people, as God loves them, and to seek their welfare. We are to imitate Christ’s example, and reach out to “the others,” — especially to those who need his saving grace. We need to avoid sinful “group think.”

My father drove this lesson home for me when he related a story from his early missionary work. My father had a tribal friend who had become a believer. Once Dad was explaining how old the New Testament was. The friend looked bewildered. Dad expected that dreaded question, “Why if you had the Gospel all this time are you just now bringing it to us?” But a smile of understanding came over the man’s face and he said, “Oh yes, the Christians in America have not carried the Gospel everywhere because they like to stay together.” Then he said, “It is nice for Christians to be together, and pray and sing and study the Bible. This is good for the Christians, but hard for the others.”

The word “others” in the tribal language can be similar in meaning to the New Testament phrase “Those that are without.” The “others” are those people who are still outside of Christ and do not fellowship with the believers. For these “others” there is still no Savior and no salvation. While we Christians enjoy the fellowship of one another, many “others” are still in great need waiting for us to share the Good News. May the Lord help us to, move beyond our comfort zone, and love “the others.”