As an artist, illustrator and big kid at heart, there’s a huge special spot in my heart for a good animated movie. I love seeing the intricate details that go into each scene – the play of colors, shapes and words and my goodness do I love a good cheesy pun! When previews for Zootopia first came out, I was so excited because hello! talking animals, fun colors and DISNEY. Yes please!!!! Last week my sweet husband took me to see it and I left not only amazed by the little details (seriously, the bunny’s nose. I can’t get over it!), but also struck to the core by the message of acceptance and anti-racism. It was so beautifully portrayed an attitude of acceptance and love of every person from every background without stereotyping.
I thought of the way Jesus calls us to love our neighbors and even more difficult, to love our enemies. He calls us as believers to be characterized by love. In 1 John, John goes on to elaborate more on the necessity of loving others. If Christ loved us so much He was willing to die for us, how could we not be characterized by the same love? It seems today like our world is so gripped by fear of outsiders, though. The media is packed with the worst of stories about terrorism, hate crimes, riots and deaths. It’s so easy to fall into a trap of fear and to want to hide from anyone and everyone who could hurt us. But Jesus doesn’t call us to build walls, to reject people of different religions or ethnicities, or to hide from the world. He calls us to love. He calls us to love beyond our religion, beyond the borders of our country, beyond our comfort zone.
Jesus commanded his followers to go and make disciples of all nations and that command is still of utmost priority for believers today. If we are crippled by fear, though, we will never leave the comforts of our own homes. While it’s true there are real dangers in the world, there are so many beautiful people in every country who are just as hurt and scared as we are. If we block out the message of hatred and fear that our culture engenders, if we will choose to love with the love of Jesus, then we have such a beautiful opportunity to bring the message of the hope of the gospel to hurting people all around the world.
If we are to obey Christ’s commands to love one another and to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth, we must learn to reject the voices of our culture telling us to fear and hate other cultures, religions, and backgrounds. When we choose to love and embrace the “outsiders”, we are often met with the most genuine and beautiful friendships, the BEST homemade ethnic food, and opportunities of a lifetime to talk about the beauty and hope of Jesus Christ!
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