Does anyone remember that song, "He's Still Workin' On Me"? That's what's running through my head right now. Yesterday, Good Friday, the kids and I had a long time of reflection together. Reflection on what Christ did for us. And it made me think once again, about how selfish and self-serving we are.
I talked to the kiddos about how the teeniest-tiniest little sin (in our own minds, because sin is sin) still nailed Jesus to the cross. And He did it willingly, lovingly. And that one person that drives you up a wall or annoys you to death or you even hate? God loves them just as much as He loves you.
You see, how many times have we looked down on someone because of what they wear, where they live, what they do for a living, how they look, how they talk, who they voted for...? Do you think that's honoring to God? Don't we realize that He loves that person just as much, that He sent His Son to die for that person just like He did for you and me?
Ouch. It's heartbreaking to me to think of how many people I've done that to over the years of my life. (Even very recently.)
But I'm workin' on it. :) Here's an illustration of how God is working on me:
On our book tour last fall, the kids and I started doing something a little different. The economy stinks right now and there are more people homeless and jobless than ever. My kids are of the age where they notice all of this. And they hurt for people. They're not hardened by years of opinions and prejudices. (Praise God!)
Driving through state after state, we couldn't help but notice how many people were on the interstate... walking. With everything they could carry strapped to their backs. Signs taped to their packs said things like, "Need a job. Please help." or "Will work for food." You get the idea.
Since we were pulling our RV - we were stocked up with food for the entire trip. But the more people we noticed, the more my heart would break. I'd hear the kids talking about how we should help them. And at first, I was a little worried. Worried about our safety if we were stop to help. Worried that if we gave away our food, we might run out before the trip was over... Whatever. :) But then I realized that everything I have is God's anyway. He provided it. He would supply. And if we got to the point where we only had cheese and crackers left, then, so be it. We'd eat cheese and crackers.
So, we stopped. Several times. The kids and I would pack up a grocery bag of food and give it to the person (sometimes a whole family) and tell them how much God loves them.
Now, I can already hear some of your responses - believe me, I heard lots of them on the trip. People telling me that was "stupid" or "wasteful" or "don't you know they could be a scam artist?" or worse yet, "It's their own fault they don't have a job..."
The kiddos and I had several discussions about this. Yes, there are people who will take advantage of others.
But is it MY place to judge that person's heart? NO.
It IS my place to show the love of Christ to everyone. To spread the gospel, to spread His hope and His joy.
Josh and Kayla picked up on this. They understand that the world is not a safe place, that I'm very protective of them. But they were the ones that saw these people for what they were.
Just like you and me.
And God loves people. Even in our broken, dirty, sinful ways... He loves us. No matter what.
We've given food to people on the side of the road for many years on a whim, but now, we're more prepared. I try to keep snacks and sometimes a few dollars handy when we go out because there might be someone who needs help. Again, it's not my place to judge them. It's not my place to wonder if they're just going to go buy cigarettes or alcohol or drugs.
I think the world has seen more than it's share of judgmental people. Especially those who claim to love the Lord and yet don't love the people around them. People who are hurting, suffering, and dying. People in need of the Savior.
Many years ago, I wrote the song, "You Are" - when I share at places, I like to tell the story behind that song. God had to get me to the point where I realized that I didn't NEED anything. Not food, not clothes, not a roof over my head, not a car...
My only true need is my relationship with Jesus Christ. Because the rest of it isn't of eternal value. When we die here, we're not taking any of this junk with us. But we will be facing eternity.
And I'm trying to remember that lesson every day.
We need to take the judgmental blinders off our faces and see people the way Jesus does. It doesn't matter what they look like, what they do, what they wear... or even why they may be standing on the side of the road. We need to stop expecting people to know right from wrong when they've never even seen God's love displayed through another person. Kinda like expecting someone the first time they walk into church to know exactly how they should act or dress!
I'm sorry, but that's not how our God works. He wants us to come as we are. Blemishes and all. Because He knows exactly where we've been. He doesn't want the facade - He wants our hearts.
Let's start a revolution - to love like Jesus loves...