Thursday, June 24, 2010
Love Them Like Jesus
Was thinking today about loving people without trying to change them, just loving them where they are, like God does. Jesus said: "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35) Simple enough, right? When you're walking from the train to work, or work to home, or to grab a sandwich at lunch, does everyone around you know you are a disciple of Christ, that you follow his command?
Today, I was walking down to the passport photo store because my passport has expired. This was a very important task, of course. Didn't want anyone to get in my way. I was loving the cooler weather, the blue sky. I was weaving through the sidewalk lunch strollers lolly-gagging back after their turkey sandwiches and cobb salads (sheesh, the nerve). Then, I reached a clear path and darted ahead, really feeling good at that point. Nothing standing in my way! I would get my photo and get back to the office in no time!
But then, the homeless guy with the deep brown eyes and graying hair who sits on the newspaper stands spotted me. I've seen him frequently. And, I find myself at what they call a "choice point." There are several options: 1) stare off to the side and pretend like I'm focused on something and just don't see him (even as he gets closer and closer); 2) confront him and politely, but brusquely, so he doesn't think I might change my mind, decline to give what he seeks; or 3) meet his eyes, dig in my purse and give him what he is asking for even though I don't feel led to do that and don't feel quite like it's the right thing.
As I'm running through all of these options in my head, God intervenes with a lyric I had heard earlier in the day on the train ride: "Love them like Jesus." I wasn't totally sure what this meant under the circumstances, so I let the Spirit guide me. I walked over to him and reached out my hand. Our hands clasped. Mine: small, white, soft. His: large, black, calloused and hard. I held his hand and looked him in the eyes and asked him how he was doing today and was he enjoying the weather. He said he was and told me I had a nice haircut. Our hands fell away and he said have a nice day. I told him I'd see him again soon. My soul soared. He had blessed me.
Giving someone what they are asking for or not giving them anything at all are not the only two options. Love them like Jesus.