Us and Them

Inspired by my niece Jennifer Martinez, Pink Floyd and God:

PFAt what point did ‘us’ become ‘them’?  Think about that for a moment.  Unless you’re a twin, the large majority of us begin life in our mother’s womb, all alone, no one there to hang out with.  All we know in that little ocean of the placenta is that all of our immediate needs are being met; oblivious to what waits for us on the outside.  This is our entire universe – being alone.  Then POW!  Here we are: all sorts of lights and noises and sensations – all these strange hands touching us, moving us, lips kissing us, arms holding us.  And, for the most part we go with the flow, because our needs are being met.  We are fed, warm and dry.  Then, supposedly out of nowhere, a somewhat less apparent need raises its head – this desire to be part of something outside of ourselves – to be part of a greater community.  The first expression of this desire, as most parents learn right away, is that, sometimes a baby just needs to be held.

So it doesn’t take long to discover that we are all created as social beings.  It’s the reason, with very few exceptions, that we don’t all live in individual cells or caves cutting ourselves off from all human contact. We need our lives interconnected with the lives of others in some way that we just quite don’t understand…yet.  The amazing success of social media supports this truth.  We have figured out ways to get involved in the lives of other people, some complete strangers, and whom we will never even meet.  But just because we can, we do.  (Don’t you find it fascinating that our need to know drives humanity to hang on every word of the endless tragedies of the nightly news and the rainbows and unicorns of sites like Facebook and Snapchat?  Why is that?)

Back to the point.  I promise there is a point.  We need to belong.  We need to be part of an ‘Us’.  And tragically, we soon come to understand if there is an ‘Us’ there needs to be a ‘Them’.   Now, this does not originate with your Dad or your Mom – your very first ‘Us’ group – not even from your slightly bigoted uncle Ray.  It comes straight from the devil, himself.  ‘Them’ is the antithesis of ‘Us’, just as Hate is the antithesis of Love.  As with all things of satan, he has taken the divine perfection of ‘Us’ and corrupted it profoundly, forever linking it to the stubborn closed mindedness that begets ‘Them’.   It is from ‘Them’ that exclusion is born, along with bias, segregation and persecution.   ‘Them’ is the cause for every war, every holocaust, and every genocide.  ‘Them’ builds walls, it creates borders and it divides peoples.  ‘Them’ is from satan; ‘Us’ is from God.

God’s creation is all about ‘Us’.  First, about God and you, then about God and ‘Us’ / His people, and finally about you and me.  All are ‘Us’ groups.  They are the most fundamental of all of the ‘Us’ groups – more fundamental than our family group because they pre-exist the very concept of family.  It is what drives our need to meet people, interact with strangers, seek the company of others, and yes, maybe even forces us to leave the womb.  ‘Us’ is fixed in our souls and manifests itself as sympathy, empathy and altruism.  ‘Us’ has the fireman rush into the burning building, the donor give up her kidney, and the hero jump in to save a drowning victim.  ‘Us’ will ultimately save this world.   If only we would allow ourselves to believe that we are all born of the same Father – regardless of what we call Him – there is only one God, and that indeed does make us all brothers and sisters.

There really is no ‘Them’ in the eyes of God.  Pray that we can see it as He does…soon.