Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
One of the most dangerous tendencies of every human being is to mentally divide people into categories of people. It’s dangerous because half the time we don’t even know we’re doing it. Christians are particularly good at this; and yet, acting on this tendency is perilous to the Christian life. Breaking down this framework isn’t easy but it is necessary if we are going to live as Christ called us to live. The truth is, these mentally constructed categories don’t exist. There is not a distinction between who is my neighbor and who is not–Jesus told us this explicitly and yet for some reason we still don’t get it. Everyone is our neighbor.
When we start thinking this way it changes how we interact with people. And this is important because that guy who waited on you last night at the restaurant . . . that girl that cut your hair . . . they’re not just some waiter . . . or some hairdresser . . . they’re people. People who may be struggling . . . hurting . . . waiting for someone, anyone, to talk to. But when we label them by what they do we cease to see them as persons; persons who are infinitely precious, incredibly valuable, and unceasingly loved by God–and for this very reason they should also mean that much to us. Because every person is objectively valuable. As Christians we should recognize this but we don’t. We’re all human and we’re all in this together and the gospel is the gospel not just for me and my friends at Church but for the man who brings my mail . . . the woman who rings up my coffee . . . and that guy that asked for directions.
I have done a great job forgetting this truth. I am really good at valuing things, tasks, or even ideas, more than people. But how we view people, and how we interact with people, impacts our entire worldview. And our worldview impacts how we live our lives. And our lives as Christians impact the way the world views Christ. And sometimes the picture of Christ that we’re showing the world isn’t so Christ-like.
So how do live this truth day-to-day?