Genesis 2:23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
This is the story of our origins as humanity, all of us springing from this first union of man and wife. All of us are one blood, all of us brothers and sisters. The problem child may be ignored or punished or even ostracized, but is still family. The reality of sisterhood and brotherhood cannot be revoked In spite of our hatred and denials. We are all one. How might it change our view of the other were we to remember that he or she is our blood relative? When faced with division and fear and malice in others, would our deepest yearning be for reconciliation? When confronted with our own hurtful behavior, might we more easily listen and reconsider?
If the one harming us is our brother, not figuratively but quite literally, then our urge to attack and annihilate is an attack on our own family, relationally estranged as he may be. If she is my sister, I cannot be indifferent to her suffering or blind to her experience, and my self-preservation is not in opposition to her, but includes her. If we are all connected, then the fear I have towards the other sparks in me not a desire for rejection but redemption, whether on the personal or national level. That same original DNA courses through all of our veins, so the inescapable truth is that regardless of skin color, religion, criminality, or whatever makes him “other,” he is flesh of my flesh. In God’s great family, there are no outsiders, only relatives.
But we “other-ize” by default. We say, “I do not understand him,” not as an invitation to further listening and discovery but as a subtle excuse to give up, with perhaps a tinge of other-blame. I think his fears are misplaced because I do not fear the same things. I think she is not trying hard enough because success came easily to me. We interpret others through our own lenses, and since it is so uncomfortable or threatening to challenge our own perspective, we reject their views to protect our own. We do this even with family members, but much more so with outsiders who are so different from us. If we are all in the same boat, punching holes in the boards under her feet sinks us all. We are in this together, and the only way to a better place is the way of love.