Aside from an actual Them magazine which is a real publication published in Japan, my reference to a “Them” magazine is purely fictional, as a send-up of Us. I couldn’t help but think if we had an Us magazine, then we should surely have a Them magazine to go with it. Can’t you see these two magazines side by side on the magazine rack — Us next to Them? Which one would you pick up? If you were wanting to know about famous people and those who consider themselves in the know, you might be more inclined to pick up Us. If you were more concerned about the little people, the forgotten, the little-known people in the world, you might pick up Them. Actually, I bet most of us would probably pick up Them because we would be curious. Us is going to be about the same people we keep hearing about — those who know they are important because they are Us, and everyone wants to be a part of us. But Them? Who could that be?
Them are faceless and nameless. They are used to being lumped together and pretty much written off. There are “us” who count and “them” who don’t. But this is entirely related to the group you are in. “Them” doesn’t necessarily have to apply to those who are little-known and insignificant; they just have to be those who are different from “us.” They are usually a group you don’t want to have anything to do with. “Them” could be conservative Christians, or leftwing Christians depending on which side you align yourself (that is, if you care about these things). “Them” could be blacks, or whites, or Muslims, or Catholics, or Baptists, or homosexuals, or Mexicans — anyone you don’t want to be, who you therefore keep out of your circle, or those we call “us.”
I grew up inside a Christianity that had all non-Christians as “them.” It was a blanket category, and we basically wrote people off unless they became a Christian or were in the process of becoming one. We would witness to “them,” but we would never have “them” as friends, because they might pull us away from the Lord.
However this works, it’s a wrong way to think. There really shouldn’t be any “thems” in our vocabulary. We need to learn to think of everyone as “us.” We are all made in the image of God and loved by Him.
It’s a little like that famous Pogo quotation: “We have met the enemy, and he is us,” except it’s, “We have met them, and they are us,” because whenever you meet an actual “them” — you get to know their personhood, their hopes and their dreams — you realize they are just like you.
We need to reduce the number of “thems” in our lives. Either let them in, or go join them. Actually, think of those who are “them” as the most real people in your life because of what you will learn about yourself and God when you get to know who they are. That will be the crowning moment in this us/them saga, when they become us.