By Dana Nurge
Last week, we heard Rev. Stan Key call us to be a “perfection of love,” illustrating that being perfect for God is not done by works or performance, but by sharing the unending love He has. Then, as members of the Asbury bubble, we are bombarded with messages and encouragement of the wholesome, welcoming community uniquely offered on this campus. But are students actually manifesting these principles to the degree that Asbury advertises and expects?
Throughout my entire time at Asbury there have been whispered rumors of negative stereotypes associated with many of the major groups on Asbury’s own campus. Upon my enrollment, I was told about the girls dorms that were known to house the uptight and catty and had the stigma of being crazy and immature, while the guys dorms across campus were often known to be unkempt and exhibited unruly behavior, or even considered to be air-headed jocks and pretentious snobs on campus, while other smaller apartments and houses have kept mainly to themselves. In my preceding years, there is a large percentage of Asbury students that have continued the encouragement of these negative attitudes. These behaviors not only target the different dorm buildings, but also extends to all major campus groups including sports teams and a variety of majors.
You know what stereotypes I’m talking about. The equine chick. The media comm. guy. The athlete. There’s no need to go into detail. All of these groups have their own reputations, and we’ve all fed into them at some point in our time here.
Most of the attitudes that I have witnessed on campus have not been of healthy competition, they are not of allied pride between halls/dorms, and they are not of simple jest. Which leaves me to think, how are we to love on non-Christians, or to those who persecute us, or to the unreached people, if we’re upholding such unjustified bitterness and disgust towards our Christian brothers and sisters on campus?
Let me put forth a disclosure that I am by no means innocent of my own repertoire of nasty comments towards the same groups and individuals discussed. But part of my repentance is the recognition of when hurtful comments and commitment to no longer to put down others for their major, dorm hall or sports team. I have also been encouraged to further challenge the entire Asbury community to be mindful of the types of comments they divulge in, the way they’re affecting our hearts, and whether these attitudes towards others are truly demonstrating a Christ-like love.
We have been commanded to love one another (John 13:34) and told, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). So let us, as a community of Christians and respectable, intelligent people, release our bitter spirits of bias, distate and pride, and instead foster a community genuinely instilled in the love that Christ has shown to us. In that way, we might be well practiced in showing love to those we may find hard to love, just as Christ Himself did.