Published April 26, 2016
When our younger son was in college, he visited various churches. One Sunday, he attended what I would call a "high church." The service was quite different from the friendly and informal church we attended regularly.
The preacher announced "pass the peace," which sounded like our greeting time. Our son stood with the rest of the congregation and turned around to greet the gentleman behind him.
"Hi. How are you?" he said pleasantly.
"Peace be with you," replied the gentleman, before turning to someone else and repeating the phrase.
Very quickly our son realized he was no longer in greeting time at our church.
I was wondering what the staid gentleman's first impression was of our son. With only one incident to go on, he probably thought he was friendly. Since he didn't know how to properly "pass the peace," he probably questioned his church background.
Often we view people based on one incident or on one meeting or on how they look one time. This can be especially dangerous when it comes to witnessing.
If the gentleman had actually been evangelistically minded, he might have made an assumption that our son was unchurched. So his further words would have been directed towards introducing Christ in the most basic way, rather than building on the common ground of meeting a fellow Christian.
I think about this when we meet homeless people in the city. Just because someone is homeless does not mean they are not a Christian.
I think of this when I look at someone who dresses very different than I do. I think of it when I see tattoos or nose rings. Just because someone is unlike me doesn't mean they don't know Jesus.
I think of this when I meet someone with money or in a powerful position. Money and position do not rule out Christianity nor does it assure Christianity.
Aren't you glad that God looks on the heart? Aren't you glad that Jesus said, "whosoever" can be saved? Aren't you glad that God meets us where we are and helps us go on from there?
Lord, help us to be more like You. Help us to see the heart of those we meet. Help us to recognize all people as someone You died to save.
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