One Sunday, way back in 2013, our former pastor, Bro. Mark, preached a sermon on "Making New Friends..." building bridges between us and people we would normally, for one reason or another, avoid.
He used the story of the Woman at the Well" (John 4:1-42) as an example. He talked about reaching across racial lines and economic barriers, overcoming fears and stereotypes, being open to learning about other cultures...and reaching out to people who are different from us socially...people who are considered social outcasts. He encouraged us to look at others through the eyes of Jesus.
His points were that, when the disciples saw a woman...Jesus saw a PERSON; when the disciples saw a Samaritan...Jesus saw a FRIEND; and when the disciples saw an outcast...Jesus saw an EVANGELIST. Bro. Mark talked to us about the people we tend to avoid...because they are different.
WELL. I was LOVING this message.
I spent the first part of the sermon climbing up on my high mountain. ALLLLLL up on it. Because being a mom of a son with special needs sometimes clouds (influences) my judgment...and so I was thinking, "all of YOU PEOPLE need to LISTEN UP." I'm with the different and the overlooked every day. I've seen the pointing and staring. I've had people ask me questions that should be addressed to Joshua, like, "would he like a cookie?" Or, "does he need a children's menu?"
(ummmm...he's 30 years old, sooo...)
BUILD SOME DANG BRIDGES, PEOPLE. Sheesh.
But God...was so kind to help me down from my high place, and hold me tight. He reminded me that He loves Joshua more than I ever can. And that I'm no better...no better than the woman at the well; no better than the ones who judge, stare, ignore and avoid people who are different.
Because what I want for my child, and his friends..what I expect...I often fail to give to others. And I'm ashamed to admit it, because I know how it feels.
And I know better.
He also showed me that the annoying questions, and the odd things people have said to me, CAN...depending on how I react...sometimes be the beginning of building a "bridge" between people who see each other as different.
I mean, we're all different...right?
I'm so thankful that, once upon a time, as a young girl...Jesus met me where I was, and drew me to Him. And loved me. And all those times as a teenager, and then as a young wife and mom...and, even now, TODAY, when I mess up...Jesus comes to me where I am...and He draws me back to Himself. And He loves me. How can I do any less for someone else?
"In as much as you have done it unto the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you have done it unto Me." (Matthew 25:40)