Devotion – August 29th – “What Do You See?”
The story is told of a woman and her grandmother, who was a very forgiving and religious soul. They were sitting on their front porch discussing a member of the family. “He’s just a mess,” the younger woman commented. “He’s completely untrustworthy, not to mention lazy!”
“Yes, that’s true,” the grandmother had to admit as she rocked back and forth in her rocker, “but Jesus loves him.”
“I’m not so sure about that,” the young woman persisted.
“Oh, yes,” assured the elderly lady, “Jesus loves him.” Then rocking back and forth a few minutes in thought the grandmother added, “Of course, Jesus doesn’t know him like we do.”
True enough, Jesus doesn’t know him or anyone, like we do. Or, should I say, like we think we do. We can walk around town, go to the city, or turn on the television and we can label anyone we see in a matter of seconds.
Be assured that “Grandma” is right: Jesus does love them, and Jesus doesn’t see them the way we do. For all the labels we put on those “thems” out there, Jesus sees only his beloved children.”
While teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, Tony Campolo led a course entitled Social Problems. One day in order to get discussion going, Campolo asked his students what some of the world’s greatest religions might have said to about a prostitute. He asked how Buddha might have responded, what Muhammad might have said. The discussion was lively and intense.
He then asked, “What do you suppose Jesus would have said to a prostitute?” He was ready to show his class the depth of Jesus’ love and compassion.
A student raised her hand and said, “Jesus never met a prostitute. How are we supposed to know?”
Campolo was caught off guard and then responded back to her, that Jesus did in fact encounter many prostitutes in his three year ministry. But the woman continued to object and stated that she too had read the New Testament, and “Jesus never met a prostitute.”
Campolo, a bit frustrated with her, reached for his Bible, but the woman interrupted his action by saying, “You aren't listening to what I am saying Doctor. Do you think when Jesus such women, he saw prostitutes?”
Campolo fell silent. He had been corrected by a student who, in some ways, had a better understanding of Jesus than he had.
“To be a Christian,” Campolo went on to say, “is to learn to see people as Christ sees them. In the church, when the church is really being the church, its members accept things that the world cannot accept. The prostitute becomes a sister. The person with a different ethnic background becomes a brother. The gay man or woman becomes a fellow saint. The drug addict becomes a priest in the priesthood of all believers."
“And if you think that sounds crazy,” Campolo concluded, “you’re right. It is crazy. But it is the way of Jesus!"
What do you see when you see another person? Look deep and hard into your soul before you answer that question. And if you find that you label some people “thems” and not a brother or sister, it is time to have a good long talk with Jesus. ~ God bless, Dan