Have you ever been around someone who gave you the willies? Your skin crawled. The hair on the back of your neck curled. You shivered. Your children stared. You could tell they wanted to say or ask something, but a warning look from you stopped them dead in their tracks.
A lot of times our “feelings” are unreliable. We ASSUME too much.
ASSUMPTION IS THE MOTHER OF MESS-UPS (to paraphrase a movie line that is not worth repeating in its original form).
We often assume because someone dresses a certain way, has multiple tats, piercings that make us cringe, and dresses totally “out there” (least in our minds), they have to be pigeon-holed into a box. Not so fast Jesus would say. Multiple times He went “where others feared (or simply refused) to tread.”
I’m so glad that people (myself included) didn’t come with fine print that defined the conditions for acceptance. Those commercials that end with a speed talker giving the conditions annoy me. Or it flashes across the screen so fast there is no way under God’s green earth I can catch what it is saying. Can you imagine if every one of us came with a list of conditions that had to be read before anyone would desire to spend time with us?
Jesus was a master at accepting people as they were, except the religious establishment dudes. See this incident. Another one is here. I think Jesus failed Dale Carnegie’s course on How to Win Friends and Influence People. But then again, He didn’t care.
ANYONE MEANS ANYONE
Several years ago I read a book that radically changed my approach to ministry by cementing in my heart and head the approach I wanted to take to my grave. If you have not read it, DO IT NOW! Don’t pass Go! Don’t collect $200. In fact, I have read it twice and some parts more.
ANYONE MEANS ANYONE AND ANYONE IS WELCOME.
As you probably have gathered, my current series is Not A Fan. My sermon Sunday is Anyone Means Anyone. No matter the political leanings. Religious or non-religious leaning. Alcoholic. Smoker. Divorced. Addict. Homosexual. I will be stressing that Sunday. Bonhoeffer once said,
When Jesus bids a man come, he bids him come and die.
Die to self. Die to self-pleasure. Die to the flesh. Anyone can come. Even me. Even you. Let me ask you: are you prone to assumptions? Do you make snap judgments about people? Do what I am going to do this weekend…spend some time reflecting on whether you assume people are a certain “type.” Thanks for your prayers.