Fear categorizes. Perfect love casts out fear. Therefore there is no categorization in love. We categorize people we fear. We categorize them as terrorists, homosexuals, liberals, conservatives, etc. When we categorize them, it means we do not love them. When we don’t love them, we are not living in the way Jesus instructed us.
In fact we are living in a way that is totally opposed to the way Jesus did. That’s a dangerous place to be. If we love everyone we will fear no one. Love, as God defines it, is indiscriminate and unconditional. The groups of people we are most likely to categorize are also those whom we have the most difficulty loving.
The reason we tend to fear those we categorize is we perceive them to be some sort of threat to our own lifestyle, comfort, security, or happiness. Notice that our fear has nothing to do with our identity in Jesus, but rather our own selfishness and self-preservation. It shows how intimately focused we are on ourselves and not on our Savior. Jesus didn’t come to categorize people. In fact He spent most of His time hanging out with those whom society had categorically labeled as outcasts. You know the type: zealots, prostitutes, thieves, adulterers, and those who were sick with socially unacceptable diseases. It’s pretty much the same group we continue to demonize today.
An important question to ask is why do we fear those we categorize? Is it because somehow they threaten our relationship with Jesus? I don’t know of anyone who could do that other than ourselves. No outside influence can damage our relationship with Christ unless we allow it. So, again, ask yourself honestly why you see the people you categorize as some sort of threat. Wouldn’t it be better to cast aside the fear and let love rule the day? Wouldn’t you actually be happier if you chose to love these people rather than allow them to stress you out and tie you in knots?
So what if someone has different political views from those you hold so dear? Why do you care so much about your nation’s government anyway? We are strangers and aliens here. Our portion is Jesus, not any colorful rag flown by a group of people. So what if someone doesn’t uphold your own moral standards? Should you love them any less? Jesus doesn’t love us any less when we compromise His moral standards every day. Should we not love others in the same way?
The whole point is to love like Jesus loves. Nothing should ever stand in the way of that. It won’t be popular or socially acceptable to live this way, but if that’s your biggest concern then you aren’t really following Jesus anyway. I am as guilty of categorizing people as anyone else, but we all need to stop this. We need to love regardless of circumstance, opinion, or lifestyle. We simply need to love and serve. It is the life Jesus modeled and the life we must lead if we choose to follow Him.