Thursday, June 20, 2013

A word for you...

I'm angry at you. Yes, you read that correctly - I'm talking to you.
I'm angry because of the judging looks that you don't even try to conceal. I'm angry because you think that because I'm thin I am somehow subhuman, not worthy of the consideration of a warm smile or friendly interaction. I'm angry because you stare with a scowl on your face and daggers in your eyes. I'm angry because you don't have the consideration of getting to know me before you decide who I am.
But are you perfect? Does your weight meet the ideal BMI standards? Do you dress in a stylish fashion that makes all the your curves look appealing and hides all the trouble zones that you wish didn't exist? No, no and no. You are over weight, pudgy and sometimes downright obese. You look sloppy in your pajama pants that should barely be warn out the door to grab the mail let alone to the mall to do someone window shopping. Your skin isn't rosey with a dew of optimal health. Instead it is saggy and pale.
Yet you want to judge me because I don't weight enough. You cast your judgement on me because my weight shocks you. Do you know me? Do you know my soul or my heart? Do you have any clue why my weight is so low? You know nothing about me and you won't ever know because before you could ever get to know me you have already written me off as damaged, diseased or mentally sick.
So I am angry at you and I can't hide it. I want to throw daggers at you with my eyes just like you have done to me. I want to judge you for the habits you keep that have led to your less than appealing appearance. If you can judge me because I'm underweight then why can't I judge you because your overweight? Sounds fair to me.
... And then I hear God's voice, quietly at first, reprimanding my hard heart and sinful behavior. Didn't Jesus suffer much worse at the hands of his fellow man? He was mocked, spit on, rejected by the people in his town, written off as crazy and generally disrespected. And he still loved. Although he was treated horribly by the very people he was here to save he didn't hold it against them. He never lashed out at them in return for their actions of hatred and disdain. He was constantly faced with people who treated him like dirt and he never gave anything but love back in return. He displayed the principle of "turn the other cheek." He was unrelenting in his love; unshakable in pouring out grace.
Jesus didn't reserve giving grace and forgiveness only to those who were nice to him or included him or understood him. No, he died for all. He died for the man who spit on him as he carried his cross. He died for the mourner who visited the tomb in a state of unmitigated grief.
If Jesus could die for people who hated him, who am I to hold resentment and anger against the people who heartlessly ignore and judge me?
God whispers in my hear.... "Love them." God wants me to look to Jesus and reflect his love and grace. He doesn't want me to look at the world and determine my response to it based on how I am treated. He doesn't want me to worry about how people react to me or how they judge me. Did Jesus worry about such things? Did he consider the hate and malice when he went to die on the cross? He wasn't dying for sinful man because he felt bad for them and wanted to simply "help" them out; he died because God sent him to do so. He was more concerned with the will of God then the treatment he received from men.
On this journey of becoming more Christlike comes the tough life lesson of learning to extend love and grace in the most trying of circumstances. Even when the world shells out hatred that isn't an excuse to fling it right back at them. Christ tells us to pour out his love on those who love us and those who hate us. Grace isn't reserved only for a few saintly men and women. Jesus came to give the ultimate grace and pour out unconditional love - whether it was "deserved" or not. Thankfully, Jesus' salvation isn't based on what we deserve. If that were the case I'd be stuck as a lousy sinner destined for an eternity in hell. Jesus came to exceed the limits of what we deserve. He came to save us from what we deserve.
As I follow Christ I must also give people more then what I think they deserve. Instead I must give them brotherly, Christlike love. I must reflect Jesus' forgiveness and grace to a world that knows far too little of those Biblical truths. It is a daily decision that I must answer each time I receive the stares of onlookers in this world: will I choose to reflect their hatred and judgement or will I reflect Jesus' love, forgiveness, grace and mercy?

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