The revolutionary importance of seeing all people as equal

The revolutionary importance of seeing all people as equal

All people are made in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27). All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). The offer of salvation through Jesus is available to everyone (John 3:16-17). All people in the church family are also seen as equal, regardless of their gender or social status (Gal 3:28). In all kinds of places, God tells us that he sees all people as equal. We are equal in our creation in His image, in our sinful guilt, and in our opportunity to be saved.

Most Christians will be familiar with all of this. None of what I have just said is taken from obscure passages or reading things from some odd context. Yet, if we really understand the implications of this, this is a revolutionary concept. If we acted towards people like God acts towards people, we would stand out.

We can look back on the past at some times where divisions between people led to terrible situations. The common early twentieth century ‘science’ of eugenics was based on the understanding that some races were superior to other races. Slavery was supported for so long as people thought some races were genuinely inferior to their own. And there have been terrible examples of ‘ethnic cleansing’, with one group attempting to wipe out another group. This was infamously carried out by the Nazis in WW2 against the Jewish people but has been evident throughout history in places like the former Yugoslavia, Somalia and many ancient civilisations.

We would like to think we have moved beyond that. Surely now, in our modern, educated, enlightened times, we understand that all people are the same? That we have the same worth in the sight of God? Well, clearly that is a lesson we have not learnt. Nationalism is on the increase around the world, the thinking that our country is superior to all others. Chinese background people were abused after Wuhan became the centre of the world’s news in 2020. Those who disagree with the prevailing narrative around sexuality and identity are cancelled as if their views have no place and they are less valuable to society.

Perhaps we feel that we are not personally like that. Those are the ways others, people out there, act. We do see people the same. But do we? We so easily spend time only with people like us, a similar demographic, a similar stage of life. It is rare to find genuine friendship between those who are wealthy and those who are poor. Many immigrants to new countries never see the inside of the house of local people.

The church has the opportunity to be radically different when it comes to this. Because we know our God sees all people equally, we must strive to do this too. The local church should be a place where we are friends with those unlike us, those who don’t fit the same socio-economic group or racial background. We must befriend singles if we are married, young people if we are older, migrants if we are locals.

We must also strive to reach all kinds of people with the gospel. We should consider who lives near our churches and devise ways to try to connect with them. We should look at how welcoming our church is to newcomers and how we can improve this. If we see all people as our equals, that will be revolutionary for those we meet. Yet it is the way God has always seen people! Let’s look for opportunities to be more like our God in welcoming everyone.