Are You a Consumer of People?

Consumerism is the mentality that justifies making choices about things, people and places based solely on my personal preference.  With regard to things, it leads to selfish materialism.  With regard to places, it leads to picking churches first according to personal preference and second according to biblical fidelity, integrity of mission and faithfulness.  With regard to people, it is choosing to love those people who meet our our felt needs. The sad truth is that consumerism has infected the way many of us regard the people that God has placed in our lives.  Our default tendency is to prefer the folks who bring pleasure, and despise those who bring challenges.  This heart disposition towards others carries over into the body of Christ.  This should not be.

It is essential to grasp that in the body of Christ there are no distinctions which can be a basis for division among us.  There are distinctions, but they cannot be a basis for division among us.  "There is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).  It's not God's will for us to parse ourselves out according to our natural distinctions and preferences.  As the body of Christ, we are one in Christ.

I've heard some Christians justify diving themselves from the body of Christ.  They say, "Well, God made me this way and, therefore, I am designed to flourish among a certain type of person."  God did make you the way he made you.  But your lack of patience with others whom He did not make like you is a result of sin.  The differences is the body of Christ are intended to make that body more full and rich (see 1st Cor 12), not more divided.

Whom are you not loving?  Whom has God placed in your life that you are regarding as an object of pleasure or displeasure, rather than as a brother or sister in Christ?  "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him" (1st John 5:1).  Everyone and everyone--these two words drive out consumerism with regard to whom we choose to love.  We cannot exclude ourselves from the obligation to love, nor can we deprive others of their status as brothers and sisters Christ.