Sunday, July 29, 2012

Loving People With Disarming Simplicity

"What would Jesus do to the Zacchaeus in your life and mine? He'd pause, look at them, and love them with such disarming simplicity, such unaccustomed tenderness, and such infectious joy that He'd wring from their calloused hearts real bursts of joy, gratitude, and wonder. Jesus expected the most of every man and woman; and behind their grumpiest poses, their most puzzling defense mechanisms, their coarseness, their arrogance, their dignified airs, their silence, and their sneers and curses, Jesus sees a little child who wasn't loved enough - a "least of these" who had ceased growing because someone had ceased believing in them."
~ Brennan Manning, "The Furious Longing of God"
This passage challenges me to think, "What is my first reaction when coming across someone with the traits that Manning describes?" When I come across people who are always grumpy, have a rough way about them, use the word "fuck" like it's going out of style, have an ego the size of the Taj Mahal, or just have their faces looking downward in silence, how do I treat them?

Most often, I steer clear.

Yet Manning reminds us that Jesus told us to look upon "the least of these" and not only tolerate them, but love them!

This week as I pass by people downtown who are obviously living in poverty, mental illness, or some other circumstance that seems to make them cast-offs, I will look at them differently. When I encounter someone who obviously thinks that I'm not in their class, I will look at them differently. I will look at them as a little child who wasn't loved enough.