Ah, Mission’s Week. The celebration of selflessness and character. A time of testimony, recap videos, and the momentary period of time in which the participating youth and children join in with the ‘big church’ to join the pastor on stage for a round of heartfelt applause. Oh this is more than just a round of pats on the back. No, no, this is the thrilling and unanimous feeling of knowing that God is proud of us as a church and is happy that we were able to give our oh so abundant blessings to those who have little or none… right?
As was so adamantly stated in today’s painfully truthful sermon, we are wrong in believing that we- as missionaries and ambassadors- have ‘more.’ As if with Christ, we are somehow ‘better.’ As if through our works we are responsible for the task of ‘saving’ anyone in general, no. We are wrong in allowing this sense of subconscious pride to blind our perspective and perception of those we wish to share God’s love with. The fact is, we stand equally sinful (and equally saved) in the midst of a perfect God, and by no means are Christians entitled to boasting of some dominance in some ominous spiritual hierarchy.
How then shall we approach the mission’s field and fulfilling the great commission if not in the idea of solely giving to and serving the ‘less fortunate’ in an effort to reveal Christ’s love? The answer lies within the example of Jesus’ humility, how He viewed people and how the Gospel should direct the way we view people too. The apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Roman church that he is a ‘bondservant’ and is ‘obligated’ to his fellow man: Greeks and ‘barbarians,’ the rich and poor, the educated and primitive. A man at the service of all people completely and totally impartial to bias. As Christians, we need to adhere to this example as a means to be effective in spreading the news of redemption. Not only in the field of mission work, but as Christians in every environment, if we want to truly show God’s love to our fellow man, we need to allow the Gospel to change the way we view our fellow man. A view untainted by the stains of bias, personal preference, and even defensive retaliation: the view of a valued person in which Jesus loves and died for.
I lately have been discovering some very dangerous biases in my own life. In my line of work, I develop tons of professional relationships with a vast assortment of different people on a weekly basis. I subconsciously collect information based on my different experiences to identify patterns, and frequently conjure assumptions of people based on past experiences with people of similar background (which are oftentimes correct). My small collection of experiences have enabled me to develop blaring generalizations of individuals who even slightly match certain criteria and thus effects my behavior toward them in very different ways. Just being honest. I’ve realized that any sort of inconsistency of attitude and behavior towards anyone due to personal bias makes me completely hypocritical and ultimately ineffective as a Christian. At which case, any ‘love’ manifested towards people as a representation of God’s would be ‘conditional,’ and thus… well, not God’s.
As I reflect upon the life of Jesus and how He spent much of his ministry in building relationships with socially disreputable people, my twisted humanity makes me honestly wonder, “is Jesus faking His attitude of love toward them? He obviously has the absolute authority and right to be offended by these people.” …Yeaaaah, it’s pretty dumb of me to verbalize those thoughts out loud, but the answer is obviously “no.” Jesus’ perfect example of love towards others is legit, despite Him being God in the flesh in the midst of human losers (such as myself. And there’s my bias coming out again). If you need proof of His genuine love, look to the cross. You can’t fake dying for someone. Heh… Well…
Bias people such as myself are able to recognize bias in others (which is also very lame of me). Bear with me. By analyzing my own life, I’ve realized that many believers are plagued with my own pious bias and inaccurate assumptions of others as well. Nay, I feel we all to some extent have contorted perceptions of people in general that results in tons of problems; nobody’s perfect. How then does this benefit the Christian in sharing the Gospel when we approach others with a ‘holier than thou’ attitude? How are we able to sincerely build intentional relationships with people when we don’t even see them on the ‘same level’ as us? How do we love people when we view them as repulsive? When we approach with reproach? Honestly, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of viewing people as they truly are in Christ. I’d be safe to assume there are people who are dying for their person-hood and their very existence to be just… acknowledged, much lest viewed equal to anyone else. I know there’s people in this world who believe that they are worthless.
So let’s put it in perspective… if it’s hard for us to imagine how powerful and amazing it would be for a world to know the love of Christ, let’s start small and imagine how powerful it would be if we viewed people- or that one person- as Jesus views them: valuable… masterpieces… and worth dying for.
Let’s ask God to create in us eyes that view people as He does.
Let’s get eye transplants.