We, as sinners wrapped up in the current culture, have a perception that everything must be earned.
Dignity? Respect? Salvation?
It transcends to how we treat others, especially those we assume have failed. We cling to status, class, race, appearance, and the right words. From this place on high we decide who we will treat as human.
We ignore people on a street corner. We’ll avoid eye contact and offer no assistance. We won’t even offer a smidgen of compassion for the many things that could have brought them to this place.
We hold tight to the mentality that everyone has brought this upon themselves.
We’ve got it all wrong
Yet, even if they did bring their current situation upon themselves (which often isn’t the case), Jesus offered us what we did not deserve. We brought death upon ourselves, and He gave us life. We chose to enter into sin, into brokenness, into pain, and still Jesus chose to associate with us. He chose to enter into our pain, to offer compassion, and to break alongside us.
If we can assume that it’s their responsibility we can remain passive. Yet we are called to be active! Jesus didn’t preach about the failures that led individuals to their hurts. He offered love.
Only once wrapped by the care of God, reassured of the worth they had in the eyes of the Father, did Jesus offer correction. He challenged His disciples to get involved. He gave them responsibility.
- Look after widows and orphans in their distress (James 1:27)
- Bridge the gap between classes (Luke 16:19-31)
- Offer forgiveness (Luke 11:21)
- Give without hindrance (Luke 10:25-37)
- And so many more!
Jesus dwells among the broken, He willingly spent time with those society perceived as “lesser,” and He offered dignity and respect even in situations where it hadn’t been earned.
By extending the love and grace of God, we pick up our brothers and sisters from their despair and we give them a chance to live free from the weight of guilt, shame, and worldly expectation.
We learn this love best by extending it to others. When we see the way it transforms our friends, neighbors, and strangers, it will actively transform our hearts.
In boldness we offer those different from ourselves the dignity and respect that they deserve as human beings created in the image of our Heavenly Father, as a brother and a sister in Christ, as people in need of care and compassion just like ourselves.
We take down our fences. We expand our tables. We embrace our neighbor.
We love others with the uninhibited love of God.