Smart phones let people take selfies—pictures of themselves. Yet experts warn that selfies risk hurting genuine relationships, because they flatter the person who takes them. The excessive focus on self goes back at least to the Middle Ages. After Martin Luther declared that God justifies individuals by faith, personal initiatives exploded. People began to defy the rule of the church. Capitalism was born and people started private businesses. Focus on the individual was built into our Declaration of Independence. It says the state exists to protect individual rights. Of course urging people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps has merit if it does not ignore God’s Word that He created us to live in community. Paul stressed this truth when he urged Christians to present their entire self to God. He taught that God placed us in a group, a body, called the church. And in that fellowship, he expects us to care for one another. He wrote in Romans 12, “Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves… Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” When Christians practice this principle, Sunday morning will be less segregated and more inclusive of others.
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