The Danger of Overgeneralization
Life is complicated. The longer I live, the more I realize that there are very few things in life which fit into neat little boxes. Even the gospel is too big to fit into a box. Some things are too complicated to fit in a box, and some things, like the grace of Christ, are simply too big to fit.
But man do we like boxes.
Trump supporters are idiots with no hearts, and those who voted for Beto are commies with no morals. We must build the wall because all Mexicans who want to enter the U.S. are rapist gang members and we cannot build the wall because the only people who want into the U.S. are weeping mothers with children on their hips.
Life is easier as a fundamentalist. It’s clear-cut and easy to figure out which side of the lines you’re on. But you cannot follow Christ into fundamentalism, because that’s not where he’s going or where he’s been. He is not about dogma or arguing over who is right. He is not about objectification of people or overgeneralization of ideas. He cuts straight through to the truth with his words. He tore down social structures and built a new people group: Christ-followers.
Recall these words in Paul’s letter to the Galatians:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
The reason we like to categorize people is because we believe that the problem with the world is outside of us. In other words, we don’t grasp our own depravity. We want to believe that we are righteous and but for those __________ the world would be great.
It is easy to point out the depravity of other people, and do you know why that is? Because we’re all sinful people. So point out a people group and you can find something wrong with them, because all have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).
I’m not suggesting we grab bongos and play Kumbaya. The problems in the world are real, and just because they’re complicated doesn’t mean we throw up our hands in defeat. Sometimes a people group is straight up wrong, and that’s my point—hard and fast rules just don’t work all the time.
Unless they’re the Word of God.
When I look at the world—no, check that—when I just look at Twitter, I see a bunch of us all confused and opinionated. My feed is full of news and arguments and jokes. But then someone posts a verse from Scripture. Or a kind word. Or poetry. And the chaos stops for a minute. The smoke clears, and you can clearly see the glory of God.
That which we humans create—our ideas, political structures, etc.—are simply not gospel. And none of us can claim the moral high ground at all times. Moral superiority is a symptom of pride, and pride is a symptom of evil.
The absolute claims we can make are the ones already made by the Absolute. God has spoken in his revealed Word, and he has not misspoken. His narrative is perfect, and if we’d just shut up for a second we’d realize we have gold rings on our fingers and a robe on our backs and someone just threw a ribeye on the grill.