This is what I think was missing from Cornerstone’s response to the recent Soulforce visit.
Let me illustrate what I mean. When I was in Turkey a couple years ago, we visited places that few Americans have heard of, much less traveled to. Towns where poverty is the norm, Islam is the only religion, and women wear head coverings and ankle-length dresses.
How did the people in these towns reacted when they met a large group of Westerners who, by their standards, were ridiculously wealthy, immodestly dressed, and hopelessly apostate?
Hostility? Suspicion? Ambivalence?
One woman we met began cutting sprigs of rosemary from the bushes in front of her house, giving them to each of us. A 12-year-old boy scoured his family’s already-harvested vineyard till he found a cluster of grapes (one of the few missed by the harvesters) to offer us.
A woman who had not yet harvested her grapes ran to her vineyard and came back with enough for all 50 of us—she handed us about a fifth of her total harvest that day. Another family saw us hiking up the mountain on the outskirts of town. When we returned, they met us with fruit and freshly baked bread.
We were strangers. Outsiders. Infidels, even. Yet they treated us like one of their own—and better. Why? Because that’s what you do in a hospitality culture. If anyone—even your enemy—arrives on your doorstep, you welcome them into your home. They have come under your protection, and you’re responsible for whatever happens to them while they’re under your roof.
This is the culture of hospitality we encounter in the Bible. It was simply taken for granted that when a stranger came to town, regardless of who they were or where they came from, you made sure they were taken care of. Towns that didn’t? Well, they had a history of getting burnt to a crisp.
The true measure of our love for Christ is not how we treat our friends, but how we treat those we normally think of as our enemies. Let’s all stop thinking of them as enemies and start seeing them first as human beings made in the image and likeness of God.