I've been doing a 90 day Beth Moore devotional on the apostle John. It has been highly interesting and challenging. A few thoughts have been floating around in my head. Do I face poverty, whether it be spiritual, emotional, physical, face on, or do I try to skirt away from it? Jesus faced poverty head on. He didn't look, down, he didn't avoid it, he looked it straight in the face. Why do I have such a hard time doing that? Why, is it, that I have a hard time looking in the eyes of someone who doesn't believe, or live the same way I do?
So, as I've been thinking about this, I'm trying to live my life unashamedly. Jesus loves these people, I need to get past my discomfort and treat them with respect and friendship. It's not like I'm disrespecting these people, rather, I'm just sort of skirting around them, rather than including them in my life. For example, a couple of weeks ago a family was walking on the sidewalk in front of my home. I know them, they used to attend my church. I also know that they are on welfare, and are not "well seen" by the other people in the neighborhood. I know that they are no longer attending the church we used to mutually attend, and have decided to be Jehovah Witnesses. They stopped to talk to me as I was inspecting some flowers that somehow appeared in the middle of my lawn. I just couldn't wait for them to move. I had a hard time looking them in the eye. I was uncomfortable. I was so thankful for Rich coming home for lunch right then and needing to go in. Yet afterwards, I felt horrible. My discomfort came from not knowing what to say. I just needed to listen. By looking them in the eye, taking the time to listen and maybe even engaging a little, I could have given them a small glimpse of Jesus. Ugh...a good thing God is patient and is forgiving! I need another opportunity to look them in the eye.
Another such circumstance came at goodwill when I was waiting in line. A person was buying some clothing, and obviously had a lifestyle much different than my own. I was embarrassed for them. It was like a train wreck waiting to happen, I was watching and yet trying not to watch as I patiently waited to pay for my items. As a second register opened, and I moved up to pay, the person apologized for taking so long. I quickly, with my head down, said, "No problem." Why didn't I look at this person in the eye? Smile? Say, " Not a problem, have a nice day?" Isn't that what Jesus would have done?
All this to say, I'm being challenged to take the time to love on people. To treat them with the same care Jesus treats me! Not easy in this world. But I'm hoping to reach out, one smile, one word, one eye to eye look on. They are worthy, they are created by God, and though God may not agree with their lives, lifestyle He sure does love them...loves them enough to die for them. If He can do that, I should be able to look them face to face!