SCRIPTURE: 1 John 2:9 (TM) – larger reading 1 John 2:7-17
Anyone who claims to live in God's light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark.
Catherine Booth was the "mother" of the Salvation Army. "Wherever Catherine Booth went," said Campbell Morgan, "humanity went to hear her. Princes and peeresses merged with paupers and prostitutes."
One night, Morgan shared in a meeting with Mrs. Booth; and a great crowd of "publicans and sinners" was there. Her message brought many to Christ. After the meeting, Morgan and Mrs. Booth went to be entertained at a fine home; and the lady of the manor said, "My dear Mrs. Booth, that meeting was dreadful"
"What do you mean, dearie?" asked Mrs. Booth.
"Oh, when you were speaking, I was looking at those people opposite to me. Their faces were so terrible, many of them. I don't think I shall sleep tonight!"
"Why, dearie, don't you know them?" Mrs. Booth asked; and the hostess replied, "Certainly not!"
"Well, that is interesting," Mrs. Booth said. "I did not bring them with me from London; they are your neighbors!"
This love your brother, sister, neighbor emphasis of the Christian Gospel is bothersome to us and if it isn’t, it should be for nothing else is at the center of the love of God.
Here is a question that I ask myself often… way too often – when I see an interracial couple do I see their mixed race or a couple? When I see two men kissing or two women kissing do I see homosexuality or two people that are in love and committed to each other? When I see a person with a lot of tattoos and/or multiple piercings do I see the ink and studs or do I see the person? When I see a Muslim do I see a person or a terrorist?
How does Jesus see them? Someone who is different or someone he was willing to die for? Does he see someone who he might be ready to reject because of their lifestyle or someone who is the apple of God’s eye?
How can we on one hand say we love God if we hate with a disapproval attitude the men and women of his creation? Truly this is bothersome. It actually gives me headaches at times. It is a struggle to love and accept others. We want to change them, get them to repent of what we see is their wrong doings … but alas, it is me who needs to repent because it is wrong – flat out no apology given wrong – to fail to see the person and to love that person for who they are. Besides, what right do I have to say what they are is wrong?
To look beyond the outer reality and deeper than their skin is a challenge at best, but with God’s guidance we (I) just might do it, after all He does.
Boy, God, we really need your help on this one. It is much easier to measure a person’s behavior and find them wanting. It is totally and completely different to see them as you see them. Help us Lord!