This post may morph into two separate posts. It is a mash-up of two thoughts from today. One is the idea of “biblical point of view” and the other is respect for others. I’ll start with the respect for others as I begin thinking about how it all works together. (That was a lot of rambling, huh?)
As I stood in line at Freebirds today, I was struck by the young man helping. He was very polite, courteous and helpful. He also had a nose ring, oblong spacers in his ears, at least 4 piercings in one of his ears and tattoos. Not exactly the path I have followed. As I took it all in, I wondered how many people judged this young man based on a) his courteous attitude or b) his appearance.
“What’s that going to look like when he’s old?” Heard that question before? How many 80 year old people are proud of their pristine, still smooth as a baby’s bottom skin? There are so many things we worry about for tomorrow while missing the joys of today. I have more “I wish I woulda’s” than I care to count. Multiple piercings are not among them but I know what I wish I would have done, why judge what another person has decided to do. If he regrets it all when he’s 80, that is his issue and won’t be mine, either now or then.
“The body is a temple.” Oh wow. I wonder how often this is uttered by people who have filled their bodies with bad foods, cigarettes, or who have filled their eyes and minds with worthless, if not blatantly evil, TV shows and movies. God didn’t give us our bodies to be perfect. If so, few would measure up. He gave us bodies to use, to fulfill the work of Jesus in our time. And what does ashes to ashes and dust to dust mean? Is God going to be hacked off if our body, that will decay, has a tat or a piercing on it? Seriously, there are people in our daily periphery who are starving to death; starving from malnutrition, starving from loneliness, starving from the absence of God in their life and I just find it impossible to believe God worries about what someone inks on their body.
Finally, how can we say anything about another person’s choices if we don’t know that person. A little over a year ago, I had a gentleman at my church attack me for a decision I had made that he felt was contrary to the Bible’s teaching. He felt this way because he made an assumption about a situation and didn’t know the facts. He attacked me in front of friends and while they tried to stand up for me, I simply let him talk. We parted without further conversation because my friends thought it best to get me away from him. Some months later I had the chance to talk to him and told him I didn’t appreciate how he treated me and what he said and that I disagreed with him. He started over on how my choice was wrong and I just asked him, “do you know me? Do you know all the facts? I ask this because God knows me, He knows my heart and He knows the fact and I rest securely in that.” Jesus knew the people he talked to. He knew their situation and He knew their heart. I didn’t know the guy behind the counter, how he grew up, why he did what he did to his body, what his experiences were, what his heart was like. How can I make judgment without knowing a person.
I write all of this because I have experienced judgment again recently. I know what it is like to have people talk about you behind your back, to cast judgment on you without all the facts. It hurts but I know God knows me. He knows my heart. He knows where I have failed and why. I won’t hold it against anyone for speaking against me. I pray that God (and I) will show them the grace and mercy He has shown me. I am a sinner. I have fallen short of His perfection. God knows me.
I hope to capture my thoughts about others and turn them over to God. I hope to see people as God sees them. I hope to give them the love and grace He casts on them.
Grace and peace.