It is said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. If so, let me ask you, do you see beauty in everyone? It is written that we are all created in God’s image; do you see God in everyone? God has called us to love everyone as He loves us, do you?
There is a popular saying that goes like this: “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” Are we turning a blind eye to God’s call to love all people?
As I sit here typing this, I am sitting in the delivery room at the hospital with my wife and son-in-law as we wait for our daughter to deliver her first child who will be grandchild number 6 for us. We are rooting for a boy………we have 5 granddaughters, but our prayer is only for a healthy delivery for both mom and baby. Whether it is a boy or a girl, there is no doubt he or she will be a cute little baby and a gift from God and deeply loved by us.
Clearly new born babies are cute and easy to love…..but what about winos on the street corner, scared illegal Mexican immigrants, late night hookers, young men who commit hate crimes or gays gathering in San Francisco for a Gay Day parades…….are they beautiful too? Can we love them too?
As Christians we are called to respect all life, from conception to natural death. This can be a difficult challenge for us sometimes. Are we up to it?
Does the beauty of a person cease when the beautiful little baby grows up and becomes a drug addicted teen? At what age or point does our love for a precious life, this little child of God, shift into condemnation? Is it when they grow up to become one who is different from us?
Do we only love and protect the cute ones?
If I as a Christian only love those people who are like me, who are the same nationality, religion and skin color as me, or only the cute little babies before they grow up, then my love is shallow. If my love for others stops for everyone except those like me then I am a Christian- hypocrite….I am a phony!
By now I suspect that everyone around the world knows that this week, in my state of South Carolina, a terrible tragedy took place. A young 21 year old man killed 9 people as they were praying in their church. What an incredibly heinous crime. I am sure all of our prayers and condolences go out to those families who lost loved ones. It has been reported that this young white man was filled with hate and rage towards black people simply because their skin color was different from his. His rage apparently consumed him to the point he perpetrated this horrific act.
Clearly our thoughts are focused on the families who lost love ones and rightfully so, however, we must not forget the shooter. This 21 year old who committed this mass murder is a child of God too. God’s love is unconditional. Sure, justice must be served and he must be held accountable for his actions. Let’s not forget that God loved this young man when he was a cute little baby boy, and he still loves him even now when he is locked up in prison after a hate filled rampage. Can you love him too? The families of the victims were an incredible Christian witness and source of inspiration when they offered their forgiveness as they confronted this man at his first hearing, the man who had just killed their loved ones.
Together we all make up the body of Christ. As one body, when one of our members hurts or is in need the entire body hurts. We are called into community and into love.
This man saw black people as different from himself. Who is it that you see as different from yourself? Is it those who are from another country? Is it those who are a different color from you? Is it those who are of a different religion? Is it those who speak a foreign language? Is it someonecovered intattooes? Is it those who are in prison? Is it that person who is addicted to drugs, gambling, alcohol, or pornography? Is it the members of ISIS? Is it the minister or priest whose sins become public? Who is it for you? Do you harbor, hate, resentment or indifference towards some people?
Are these people really different from you? Maybe you are the one who is different from them. Perhaps the bottom line is that none of us are actually all that different. Is it possible that we are all just children of God; trying to get through this often difficult journey we call life?
Do we dislike people simply because they have made a bad decision in life? At times all of us make some wrong decisions. Some people make really bad decisions, and others make decisions that aren’t quite as bad. The Bible makes it clear nevertheless, that we are all sinners. The great news is God’s mercy extends to all who ask for it in Christ’s name.
This senseless killing of innocent people reminded me and hopefully all of us that we need to work much harder to get along. Just because someone is different from us is not a reason to dislike or worse yet to hate them. There is a song from many years ago that calls us to see the good in everyone and everything. Singer Ray Stevens was known for his humorous songs. This song however, was a departure for Stevens and was a serious and spiritual song. This song was a number one hit in 1970 and it is just as relative today as it was then. Let’s journey back 45 years ago and revisit the song and its lyrics.
(Click the title above to listen to the song and watch the video)
Jesus loves the little children, All the little children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, They are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. Everything is beautiful in it’s own way. Like the starry summer night, or a snow-covered winter’s day. And everybody’s beautiful in their own way. Under God’s heaven, the world’s gonna find the way. There is none so blind as he who will not see. We must not close our minds; we must let our thoughts be free. For every hour that passes by, we know the world gets a little bit older. It’s time to realize that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. And everything is beautiful in it’s own way. Like the starry summer night, or a snow-covered winter’s day. Oh, sing it children! Everybody’s beautiful in their own way. Under God’s heaven, the world’s gonna find the way. We shouldn’t care about the length of his hair, or the color of his skin. Don’t worry about what shows from without, but the love that lives within. And we’re gonna get it all together now; everything gonna work out fine. Just take a little time to look on the good side my friend, And straighten it out in your mind. And everything is beautiful in it’s own way. Like the starry summer night, or a snow-covered winter’s day. Ah, sing it children! Everybody’s beautiful in their own way, Under God’s heaven the world’s gonna find a way. One more time! Everything is beautiful in it’s own way. Like the starry summer night, or a snow-covered winter’s day…
In conclusion we must each ask ourselves the difficult question; can you love everyone like God loves you? If you find yourself struggling to love only some people, “the cute ones,” ask God to soften your heart? Ask Him to allow you to see the good in everyone? Everyone is made in God’s image, so ask Him to help you see HIM in everyone.
A concluding note: Our new grandson has arrived!!!! It was love at first sight. Oh and by the way my daughter is white and my son-in-law is black. I love my son-in-law as if he were my son. My new grandson is mixed……….if we think about it, after all these years of human existence…..we are all mixed. Let’s learn to love all people!
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” John 13:34