Every day we all make a number of choices, some are good, perhaps some are not so good, and some are neither good nor bad, just choices. For some people, choices are made that are life changing, positively or negatively.
There are many people who have been taught by example of bad choices or decisions since they were young, so that seems natural to them. The examples that many children see and are exposed to during their formative years determine the direction they choose as they grow older.
Imagine a child who lives through the experience of being told to do things that hurt others, or they are taught to steal from other people, or commit other acts that are illegal.
As these young children grow through their youthful years into adulthood, they are not taught nor do they see how to respect others. Also, they have not learned how to respect themselves, so most actions are to fill a perceived need or want.
Now there are situations when we need to make choices. When a person is seen sitting in the Downtown area panhandling, or shuffling along the street, what thoughts run through our minds? Do we see a person in need, a person who has been created by God, in the image of God, or do we see an undesirable whom we don’t want to get near?
When Jesus Christ walked on earth He cared for and had compassion on all, even the people whom others would not go near.
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me
When Jesus said “Follow Me”, I believe His desire is for us to follow His example in caring for others, in making choices to benefit others, even when it is the opposite of what the majority of the population would do.
Imagine a child living in a family and being told continually he is not wanted there, and never receiving any love or affection. In many cases, while still young he looks for love and care in other places, or he becomes a “loner or misfit” in society, with no social skills and not bothering with anyone. Either of these choices are not good, but what else would he know to do? This could be the story of a person we see pushing a grocery cart down the main street with all his belongings, not trusting anyone because those whom he should have been able to trust hurt him and didn’t want him around.
As we make a choice to be kind to this person, treat him with respect, and have compassion, over time trust may be built up and we will see beyond the walls and tough exterior. We may see who that person really is, a creation of God, made in the image of God.
In closing I am repeating an earlier paragraph.
“Now there are situations when we need to make choices. When a person is seen sitting in the Downtown area panhandling, or shuffling along the street, what thoughts run through our minds? Do we see a person in need, a person who has been created by God, in the image of God, or do we see an undesirable whom we don’t want to get near?”
The choice is ours, are we going to obey Jesus when He says “Follow Me”.
As Jesus is a world changer, He will be a world changer through us.