cat and mirror

How often we see people and almost instinctively form an opinion about them. In a flash, we observe their clothes, their attitude, their cleanliness or lack thereof. We go farther and look to see if they are of our ethnic background, or of our race. As a result, through all these observations we get an impression. And, that impression, positive or negative, forms the opinion we have about them. How sad that is. We blow off their lives, their struggles, their background, their health issues, their family life all because of this initial impression, that first observation.

Think about it for a moment. We as Christians, a people believing in a loving God, easily, readily make judgments about others. Is this really the way our lives are to be led? Is this what Jesus meant when He said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”? “Come, follow me”. The main belief, NO, let me correct that, the whole concept and belief of Christianity is that we are a fallen humanity. We err. All of us make mistakes. Some of those mistakes are things we are too ashamed to admit, even to ourselves. That is what Redemption is all about. We right now, should fall on our knees and thank God for creating and saving our miserable lives.

“But, I AM grateful”, you say. How so? In what way are you grateful? Do you feel joy, that you AND the rest of mankind are loved by a God, Who sent his Son to redeem us and show us HOW to live? Do you accept the fact that ALL mankind has been redeemed, not just you and your friends?

These are difficult concepts to recognize, to believe, and to accept. We do fall on our knees, weeping that we have been saved. But the WE, in our mind, is often limited to those who we approve of, who we accept. “Oh, no, I didn’t say that! I know all people have been saved. I just don’t have to like their way of living”, you shout back. Now we get closer to the truth.

You don’t like the way they are living. What are your likes and dislikes? What shapes those feelings? What inside you holds you back from accepting others who are different? Look at those people who bother you. Think of them with those characteristics that you don’t like. Magnify in your mind, what it is that turns you off about them. Get a good look at it. Feel the aversion, the contempt, the anger that this person instills in you. With an open mind, try to understand just why it bothers you. You might say, “I just don’t like it”. That is not a valid reason. You already know that you don’t like it. This exercise is to try to understand the WHY. What inside you, your formation, rebels at someone’s manner of dress? Why do you feel repulsed by someone else’s uncleanliness? When people speak harshly, or thoughtlessly, or critically about you or someone else, why do you feel attacked?

Whatever it is that turns you “off”, it has already touched a weakness residing inside you. Through those negative feelings that you experience about others, they tip you off as to what needs to be attended to, addressed, and fixed within yourself. They are, in a manner of speaking, an insight into your own makeup. If you never address the weakness, you will always be condemned to bear the burdens that go along with it. But I am not a psychologist and much of this is the domain of that realm. For it addresses the workings of the mind.
But, in the workings of the soul, in its’ aspiring to a nobler life, our faith has much to teach us.-1 In order for us to love ourselves, to think positively about ourselves, we need Someone to love us, Someone who is above our lowly state. It cannot be another person because he or she is already as imperfect as ourselves. No, for that we need God to tell us that He understands us, He loves us and He forgives us. Redemption.

So, we go back to the original premise, namely, that we dislike the imperfections of others, the faults of others, the flaws of others. But, we are in the same boat that they are in. They fail, and we fail. They have one weakness and we have another. They have been forgiven and loved, and so have we. WE together have been loved, saved and forgiven. How can we put on airs of superiority? How can we look down on someone else? We are, all the same, wanting to be loved, wanting to be forgiven. We do it differently, but we are looking for the same embrace.

-1 The atheist says there is no soul, for it cannot be seen. Though not seen, our faith tells us that this soul, this spiritual entity was breathed into mankind, at its creation, by God. The atheist says there is no God, because He cannot be seen, either. This post will not attempt a proof of God’s existence. Reams have been written, and will continue to be written on this question. The gift of faith is just that…A Gift.