“There are no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”This verse does not say poor or rich, but it does say slave or free. And Jesus speaks in the gospels about not treating people differently regardless of their condition in life.
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I unconsciously labeled someone last night.
I was eating out with my daughter and a dear friend. As we were leaving and putting up our dishes, I noticed a socially awkward man refilling his drink in a plastic, soft drink container. At first I thought he was toting along oxygen and had a nurse aid with him, but upon further examination I realized the young lady in the nurse attire was not attending to him and indeed what he was rolling around with him was a slender, upright, black, material-covered cart with his belongings. He was cheerful and talkative to the people gathering between the trash and the drink dispensers.
When I passed by he said something about liking the way my perfume smelled. Startled I mumbled a comment about not wearing perfume as I returned to my seat to wait for my accompanying guest to return from the restrooms.
I kept looking at the man move oddly about, chatting cordially, and for the most part being treated quite respectfully by others. My heart tugged.
I wanted to reach out but didn’t quite know what to say or do. The weather was bitter cold outside. But quickly my company had returned and I made my way out to the car.
I made a comment to them about thinking the man I saw was homeless and I kept looking into the restaurant window from a distance as we got into the car. But as we all began chattering, he was quickly out of sight and out of mind.
Upon awakening this morning I was, in a way, haunted by my lack of response. Where did this man sleep last night? What was his story? Of course, I don’t have a clue because I didn’t take time to ask. I hurried off to a prayer meeting at church. Ugh! What would Jesus have done?
And I open my devotion this morning and read that I am to lose labels.
Did I label that man last night? Yes, I did. I thought he was a little off; maybe mentally unstable. I thought he might have been homeless but I did not know for sure. I thought if I approached him to talk he would have talked all night and I would not have been able to break away. I would have been late for my meeting. I was not the good samaritan. I was the religious person hurrying on to get to prayer. How hypocritical!
Even worse, I am not sure how I would have helped this man if he didn’t have a place to stay. I know people at our church help the homeless. I know of local organizations that I support that make sure the homeless are sheltered on very cold nights. But I did not get involved last night, and I don’t have the numbers to help a person I meet in need.
I can only truly repent if I have a plan as to what I will do the next time to not repeat my inaction, because repentance means I will turn from my sinful ways and change. It is easy to say, “I am sorry God,” but quite a different thing to be sorrowful to the point of making the steps to be different so that you will sin no more in the same way. This will take stepping out into inconvenience and awkwardness. This will also take becoming informed so I can knowledgeably assist a person in need.
“There are no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28)Jesus Christ brings unity. When a person regardless of their identity, background, and status comes to faith in Christ Jesus and becomes a son of God, this person is God’s child. We are all God’s children! We are all heirs in Christ Jesus. We are brothers and sisters. We are sons of God.
Jesus came to redeem us, "those who were under the law", so that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Gal 4:5) And because “you are sons, God has sent for the the Spirt of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba Father!” (Gal 4:6) We "are no longer a slave (in bondage to sin and under the law) but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ Jesus.” (Gal 4:7)
This makes me want to shout, "Amen! Alleluia!”