A DIFFERENT LIFESTYLE
Ostracism conjures up sharp images of behavior toward one another. There are laws against such behavior today, although it doesn't stop people from discriminating and making death threats against people who think differently from us.
The Aboriginal people through the 1950s were non-people. They were outcasts in their own land. Mainstream culture didn't want to know them.
One lady called herself a Maori because they enjoyed a status in the community that the Aborigines didn't have.
Bruce and I and another couple, Frank and Rita and our children became independent missionaries to the Aborigine people living along the banks of the River Murray in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
We self-supported our work among these people by Frank working his fruit block and Bruce holding down a job as block-hand. Sundays, we devoted ourselves to church meetings and Sunday School. During the week, we would hold Bible studies and prayer meetings. There was a social interaction when we tried to adapt to their lifestyle.
The people who lived along the Riverbank were proud. They refused to go and live on Mission stations and accept handouts. To live on Mission stations was admitting you couldn't look after yourself. They lived by fishing, hunting, and doing seasonal work on the surrounding fruit blocks. They built their huts from materials picked up in the rubbish dumps.
Alcohol, immorality and domestic violence were rife.
When we began moving amongst these people, we became ostracized by many of our friends. Nobody wanted to know us, and the white community thought we were mad, and the indigenous were suspicious of us. In a sense, we became non-people. Today the indigenous are educated are equally housed. They are prominent in the sports arenas, politics, entertainment and the arts.
There are many similarities between God and us. In our natural lifestyle, God is our enemy. We want nothing to do with him in many ways.
It hasn't prevented God from loving us and seeking to draw us into his love and fellowship. Just as ostracism and suspicion didn't stop us from identifying with the indigenous people.
God hasn't given up on us; he provided a way for us to intimately fellowship with him. He sent his Son Jesus as the perfect man to give us a new heart and a new Spirit, so we could be one with God and enjoy an intimate relationship with him.
Jesus, the perfect man, sacrificed himself to give us a new heart and new spirit, opening the door to a personal relationship with God. We could never indeed be one with the indigenous people because of culture. We can be one with God through Jesus giving us a new spirit.
When we believe and accept Jesus' sacrifice and give our life over to God, we find our lifestyle changed, we find we are new people, a change has taken place in our heart, and we no longer have the same desires.
God and we are one now; there is no enmity against God. Race, colour, what we have done or haven't done, who we are or are not, doesn't make any difference; we are now one with God. Our relationship with God rests on our belief in and acceptance of Jesus sacrificing himself to take away our enmity against God.
Our enmity with God is over when we accept Jesus. The ostracism will begin between ourselves and our fellow man. Our Godly lifestyle will separate us, and we will exchange one kind of ostracism for another. Being intimate with God far outweighs the separation from our fellow man.
'So believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.' Act 16: 13.
For further thought, 'Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.' Mark 12: 30.
Author: "You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page" - Jodi Picoult