I had the honor of speaking recently to a wonderful group of women at a mini-retreat in a local church. It was an enriching experience I will long remember. We spoke about the diminishing number of people attending services regularly and what an erosion of faith would mean to the future of our world.
If the Christian faith is to survive, I believe we lay men and women, the foot soldiers of the church, so to speak, need to play a larger part in the propagation of our faith. How can we best accomplish this? I think the answer lies in the way we perceive others. If we can begin to see people through the eyes of Christ and re-program ourselves to feel about others the way He did, we can carry forward His ministry of love, mercy and acceptance.
There is so much divisiveness in today’s world. People are put into neat little categories based on race, religion, politics, orientations and socio-economic status. We are ranked, judged and scrutinized without knowing much about the person we are. It takes time, effort and caring to get to know someone–with an open mind and without prejudice.
Jesus kept company with the outcasts, the shunned and dregs of society, those the leaders of the day considered unworthy of notice, much less respect and support. He hated the sin, but never the sinner. Most of all He hated hypocrisy.
If we can begin to accept others–not just tolerate but accept–to act out of empathy, kindness and love, then I believe we will have a ripple effect in this stormy sea of turmoil. An act of courtesy and respect can impact the life of another as much as a slur or slight. And it’s only human nature to react in kind.
It won’t happen overnight, but we CAN make a difference in this world–one act, one person, one day at a time. We have to start someplace….don’t we?