Do you ever wonder about the people who ask for money at stoplights? I do. It happened today actually. I was stopped at the traffic light and I saw a gentleman walking between the cars with a sign that read, “Anything helps, God Bless.” We made eye contact, I waved, he nodded his head. But what I was really thinking was, “He doesn’t look homeless. His clothes are clean, his shoes are in good shape. I wonder if he even loves God, or if he just uses that to pull on people’s heart strings.”
And then it dawned on me. I’ve never met this person, I certainly don’t understand his situation in life, but here I am making judgements about someone whom I have never met…not even spoken to. And you know why? Because I gave $5 to a person once, thinking that it would go to something that I felt was noble (like food or clothes), and they used it to hail a cab. I felt used, suckered, and told myself never again.
This experience got me thinking, how often do I make pre-determined decisions about others?
There’s a word for that. It’s called prejudice.
I realized, I find it hard to go throughout an entire day without making such judgements about people. We all do. We assume or presume things about them based off of past experiences. We self protect instead of being willing to take a second chance.
Can you imagine if God never gave us a second chance? Here I am concerned over giving a stranger a few dollars and Jesus, despite my own short comings, paid the ultimate sacrifice for my salvation. What if God is asking me to make a difference in their life? Or perhaps they could make a difference in mine? Either way, I’ve found that my preconceived ideas get in the way of what God is asking me to do…love others as He does.
I have a long path ahead of me, but I’m willing to take small steps each day that lead me to do a better job of honoring God and being more like his Son, Jesus. Will you join me?