I found myself reading Matthew, Chapter 22, this week. Current events have brought a problem to light, and it is one that has plagued man since the beginning of time. If someone is different from us, then we immediately throw up barriers. And, let’s face it, everyone is different from us. No two people are exactly alike.
My granddaughter was over visiting last night, and she asked me a question about hair color. She was playing with her Ariel the Mermaid doll who has flaming red hair. She stopped for a minute and asked me, “do people with red hair have a disease?” In her whole six years of existence, she hasn’t encountered many flaming redheads, so she was curious why. I told her no, that hair color was a genetic trait that you inherited from your parents. Then, I reminded her that my DIL, Stephanie, had red hair. She said, “but her hair is brownish-red,” so evidently, only the flaming redheads were strange to her.
We can all get a small chuckle from that story since we understand that eye color, hair color, etc., is all a matter of who your parents are. So, using the same set of rules, we also understand that the color of our skin is also an inherited trait. I burn easily, but my father tans easily. I inherited my skin tone from my mother’s side, which was Scotch-Irish.
Personalities and food preferences can also be inherited, or they can be environmental factors. Did you know that people raised in the south are different from those raised in the north? Yes, us southerners talk differently. Southerners also eat differently, and some of the food choices we make would seem odd or crazy to people raised in the north. “Fried” might be our love language, or maybe it is sweet tea. Lol! Either way, you need to try them both; it could change your world!
It is easy to see that there are lots of different people in the world. And, it is easy to see why we have questions about the differences. The problem isn’t the questions; the problem is in assuming that your ways are the only ways and that everyone who isn’t like you is wrong.
This is a problem that has been going on forever. Remember how the Jews felt about the Samaritans? They would walk miles out of their way so that they didn’t have to go through Samaria. If you recall the story of the woman at the well, you will notice that she knew that Jesus was a Jew, even though he never told her. I would assume that meant that he looked, talked, or dressed differently than Samaritan men. The woman was astonished that Jesus would speak to her since she was a Samaritan, and also because she was a woman. Color, wealth, sex, language, dress, or lifestyle was not what mattered to Jesus; He loved everyone.
In Matthew 22, the Pharisees were trying to trick Jesus. One of them being a lawyer asked this:
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Love thy God with all thy heart and love thy neighbour as thyself are the two commandments that all of the law revolves around. Love God, and love everyone else also. Gosh, that sounds pretty easy until you start thinking about people who have done you wrong. Surely the Lord doesn’t mean for me to love someone who spread rumors about me? I can’t imagine loving someone who cheated on me, beat me, stole money from me, lied on me, etc., etc., etc.
The Lord surely meant that we only had to love good people, and were righteous in His sight. He couldn’t expect me to love a drug addict, a thief, a liar, and cheat, a pedophile, or a murderer!
I’ll be honest, I don’t know how to love people that have done horrific acts. I can’t imagine liking someone like that, much less loving them as myself. How??? How is that even possible?
47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Today I am praying for my heart to be opened. I am praying that the Lord fills me with love for my fellow man and woman. My prayer is that I will not make judgments based on outwards appearances. We are ALL God’s children! And, just like I love my children equally, the Lord loves all of His the same.
Have A Blessed Day!