But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you.  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.”  (Ruth 1:16)

She left her country, her home, her people.  And incidentally, according to Naomi, her gods (Ruth 1:15).

Ruth chose not to return to them with her sister-in-law.  Instead, she chose to worship the one true God and journey to a new land and a new people.

So have we.

As with Ruth, that choice will be paved with loss and hardship.  It will also result in divine provision and redemption.  To be sure, it is the right choice.

But when we choose to make God our God, we also choose to make His people our people.  There is no way around it.  If He is our Father, His children are our siblings.  All of them.  The ones we like and the ones we don’t like.  The ones who are kindred spirits and the ones we can’t understand.  The ones we admire and the ones of whom we disapprove.

Perhaps I’m alone in this confession, but there are some in the family of God with whom I do not generally prefer to keep company.  There are some I find myself avoiding for various reasons.  There are some on whom I pass judgment without even thinking about it.  As ungodly as it may sound, there are some with whom I do not prefer to be identified.

But maybe I stand alone in these feelings.

You might be surprised at those who would fit in the categories above for me.  That’s really not the point, though.

When I chose to make God my God, I left behind the pattern of this world.  I chose to live as a citizen of a different country in fellowship with different people.  And I didn’t just choose to be their neighbors.

I chose to be their family.   I chose to be called by the same name.  I chose them to be my people.

And whether or not I like their company doesn’t matter.  Whether I admire their lives or disapprove of them doesn’t matter.  I do not get to choose with whom I will be identified in the family of God.

Because long ago, One wholly other than me chose to identify with my pitiful existence.

He was divinely unique, and yet He made Himself flesh-bound.

He did it to bind me to Him forever.  To call me His own.

And so I now call those He has ransomed mine too.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility … His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.  (Ephesians 2:14-16)