Who makes you uncomfortable?
Imagine walking down a lonely street and there is one other person walking towards you. It is just you and him or her.
For some this is enough to make us nervous. For many though it will depend on what that person looks like and how they walk. Perhaps it is a big man who is not walking straight. Or it might be a person from a culture we don’t know or trust. It could even be nice, clean cut young woman who is more nervous than you are.
How many times do we walk by a person with their hand or hat out asking for money? Does that make you uncomfortable?
How about a limousine pulling up and a couple get up who are well dressed and appear very wealthy? Would they make you feel uncomfortable?
I wonder how many times in a day we pre-judge others? It is more likely that the person coming towards you on the street just wants to get to where they are going. The man with the stumbling walk could have some type of disability. The people from another culture may be seeking the same God you seek to serve. And that nice young woman may be the worst thief you will ever come across. Only God knows the inner man or only God knows what is inside of their hearts.
The most obvious contrast is between the man asking for a handout and the rich couple. In North America, so many people admire the rich and grant them celebrity status, even giving their opinions special merit. And most people would consider the man asking for help a loser who brought his situation upon himself.
It probably will not be a surprise that the rich have a less than a positive attitude towards the poor in many cases. Not all the time although being rich can harden your heart. It may surprise many though to learn that the poor often have a negative attitude towards the rich. Not all the time although poverty can harden the heart.
I doubt the rich couple and asking man would ever become fast friends or even take the time to not pre-judge each other. Most of us do not live in either of these extremes. If we were all music, the poor might be the bass and the rich treble while the vast majority of us would be mid-range. We are neither poor nor rich.
And then there is God. Do you wonder what God sees when he looks upon that one other person coming towards you? Does he see a potential threat? Would he turn his face away from the poor or spit at the rich? What would it be like if we were able to see those with which we come into contact through God’s eyes?
Well, perhaps we wouldn’t pre-judge as much. Instead of thinking the rich are rich because they stepped on others or the poor are poor because they made bad choices, we might think that the same God who created and loves us also created and loves them.
It is no secret that God is love. In 1 John 4:8 John wrote that “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Although it may appear that God favors the rich over the poor that is a worldly definition and not based on the truth.
The truth is God loves us all equally. When Jesus died on the cross was it only for good looking successful people? Perhaps his resurrection was meant only for the impoverished and down trodden?
Salvation is the greatest gift mankind has ever received. It is the greatest gift I have ever been offered. It is available to all those who call on the name of Jesus. In the gospel of John it is written “whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life.” (John 5:24). It wasn’t just for certain cultures or socio-economic classes. Whoever is everybody.
I am a man and just like other men prejudices and temptations surround me. Yet I am able to treat poor and rich alike. I am able to love because of the love of Christ which is now within me.
The question is not who is coming towards you on the street. The real question is who are you moving towards that person on the street?
Andy Becker is lead of Lighthouse Ministries which brings God’s love and presence to the North Central area of Regina, Canada. He is also a writer, public speaker, former counselor, and former Executive Director of a Hospice.