“Categorizing others creates a distance and gives us a convenient exit strategy for avoiding involvement. Jesus took an extremely different approach. He was all about including people, not excluding them.”- Max Lucado
Peter told them, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean.”- Acts 10:28 (NLT)
Max Lucado concludes Chapter 14 of Outlive Your Life as he wryly observes that life is so much easier without God’s command in Acts 10:28. Because, Pastor Lucado explains, “Labels relieve us of responsibility. Pigeonholing permits us to wash our hands and leave.”
Yet, Max reminds us, Jesus modeled an entirely different approach. For Jesus included, rather than excluded, people. Instead of viewing people as problems, Jesus viewed them as opportunities.
Therefore, Pastor Lucado asserts, God calls us to change the way we look at people. When we label, Max counsels, we libel. Hence, we need to view people as we do ourselves. Perhaps blemished, But certainly unfinished. However, once we’re rescued and restored, we may shed light. Even with our imperfections.
In conclusion, the author offers these words of encouragement and challenge. There’s always a story behind the door:
“In our lifetimes you and I are going to come across some discarded people. Tossed out. Sometimes tossed out by a church. Neglect or rescue? Label them or love them? We know Jesus’ choice, Just look at what he did with us.”
Since I cover Chapter 15 in the October Short Meditation, the next blog covers Chapter 16. It’s the final chapter of Outlive Your Life.
Today’s question: What Bible verses help you avoid categorizing others? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: Jesus playing the violin – beauty in busyness”