“Othering” is one of the tragic sins of our time. It’s a natural, human tendency to allow negative images and stories of people we don’t know to engender fear and create walls, literal if not figurative, of separation between us. I believe many, even within the church, are governed more by fear than love. This brings a tragic reversal to the admonition John gives to the early church. “Perfect fear casts out love” sabotages “perfect love casts out fear!” 1 John 4:18.
There is no fear in love. I’ve been on this journey for many years. I still find fear lurking in my own heart at times when initiating a new relationship with someone I don’t know, an “other”, someone I’ve been taught to be suspicious of.
Faces of my World
“If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.” (Frederick Buechner)