Dear friends in Christ,
When we look at others what do we see? To some, they see the color of skin, others look at style of dress, hair style, tattoos, or some other identifiable marking. Most form an easily identifiable marking to help us group that person into a certain category or set. But, does that really get at the root of who that person is? The easy answer is “no,” yet is that really what we would say we believe?
We group people all the time by applying a title to them for their actions or affiliation. Even within the Christian community we look at others and think of them as better or worse “Christians.” If their subset does not match ours as we think that it should, they are placed into a category that calls their entire system into question. We then use that equation to make the distance between ourselves seem to be more valid and perhaps noble. Is this what we have been called to by God? Is that what Jesus did in his ministry? The answer to both questions is “no.”
We have not been called by God to isolate but to engage. We are not simply waiting for the end so that we can all run to heaven, we are called to engage the world in which we live so that all people might go to heaven. Romans tells us, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news.” The love of God is active and pursuing, not passive and reserved.
Even within our own fellowship we have much to consider. We tend to look at each other with some of those same suspicious eyes. We list one as deeply committed and another as not quite there based upon what we think that we see in them. These observations were put to rest in Jesus as he showed us how to look at all people with eyes of compassion. Before we too quickly think that we have the answers for where people belong on the God spectrum let’s see with the eyes of Jesus and realize that we are all damaged broken people graciously touched by God with the blood of Jesus, and if someone is not quite there yet let’s help them get there instead of pulling back and pointing out all their flaws.
Please be patient and loving. God is not done with us yet.