Every so often I get bummed by things the Lord shows me about my life.
Today was one of those days.
I’m sure others have seen imperfections in my life, but usually people can’t read my mind. So I can do the right things, you know, the acceptable things, and seemingly get by with thoughts that are less than perfect.
Until the Lord decides to show me the truth about my thoughts.
My prejudiced thoughts.
My stinking thinking.
My wife and I enjoy shopping at secondhand stores. Great buys, lots of choices, and you never know what you’ll find there. That’s the best part for me.
Today we went to a number of places. We were looking for something specific, and although we never found it, we had fun looking at all the wonderful treasures.
But that’s where I got into trouble.
I found myself looking at certain people, ones who looked down and out, kind of scroungy, a little dirty, and not as sophisticated as me (I’m saying this facetiously).
They just didn’t measure up to my standards of what’s socially acceptable.
I even wondered how many of them were saved.
I never heard God speak audibly, but I sensed His displeasure none the less. I didn’t realize my thoughts had been traveling down that road until I sensed how grieved the Holy Spirit was.
I thought I was beyond having those kind of prejudiced thoughts. I didn’t think I was capable of such small mindedness.
But I was wrong.
I’m reminded of a passage Pastor James wrote to his church members. Apparently some of his flock were acting a little hoity-toity around the “lesser ones”.
“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:1-9 ESV)
James WAS NOT saying it’s sin because the judgment took place in a church service, but that it happened at all! In church, out of church, wherever; judging people based on appearance, their bank accounts, or how many tattoos they have is wrong.
Wrong equates to sin.
What do YOU think about people who may look different than you? How about the scruffy ones?
Or, maybe it’s a different kind of person for you. Like someone dressed to the nines, and drives a big Lamborghini.
Or perhaps it’s a man who wears a turban, or a woman wearing a headscarf.
I’ve got more growing to do than I realized. The Lord has uncovered areas of pride and prejudice I thought had been wiped out.
I’m thankful for His patience with me, and His commitment to complete the work He began in me some 40 years ago.
But it sure is humbling.
Oh, one more thing. Please don’t judge me too harshly for this recent setback; I’m sure we can all find some way in which to apply this little message.
If not, maybe I’ll meet you at the Iowa State Fair next August and we can talk about it.