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Categorizing Others

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

Categorizing others is something we have grown accustomed to doing. We have learned this way of thinking from an early age.

On the elementary school playground, many of us were taught to choose the stronger, faster, and more athletic kids to be on our team. In the school band, the more accomplished musicians would quickly distinguish themselves from the average players. In academia, it’s only the “best and brightest” that end up at the prestigious schools.

As we entered the workforce, it was more of the same. The more capable employees would receive the promotions. In the past, and sadly even today, the best jobs belonged to those of a particular ethnicity, social class, or gender.

We humans are constantly in the practice of hierarchically categorizing (rich and poor, intelligent and stupid, strong and weak, capable and incapable, homeless and housed).

Not so with God.

In his letter to the Galatian church, Paul makes one of the most controversial and astounding statements in the entire New Testament. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus is both the Son of Man (his self-identification with humanity) and the Son of God (the divine Son) and he flat-out refuses to categorize people in a hierarchal fashion.

Jesus reminds those who are discarded by society that they are precious children of God. He teaches that no matter what the “strong” and loud people in power say, the kingdom of God belongs to the poor (Luke 6:20).

Christ reminds us to never fall into the trap of thinking more highly of ourselves than others but instead, he calls us to show immense respect to everyone.

As we strive to be “The Hand of God in the Heart of the City,”  we remember all have inherent dignity as people made in the image of God.

Alex Macleod
Chaplain, The Gateway


Jesus Christ,

Thank you for breaking down all the barriers that we place between one another.

We remember today that in you we are united.

We are your precious children and we follow you in showing respect to all.

May we the sort of people who share your love in word and deed to everyone we meet today.

We know that you died (and were resurrected) for all (2 Corinthians 5:15).


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