Friday, March 23, 2012

Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly

We are going to take a moment to not talk about orphans and Dima and just focus on another segment of the world's population in need.  People right in my own backyard.

For the past 6 weeks Eric and some other men from our church have faithfully gone to Panera Bread every Thursday evening to receive all of the leftovers from that day. Then, on Friday afternoons, Eric and another gentleman from our church have been faithfully going to a a motel here in Ocala where there is need.  They hand out the bread for free, pray with and for the residents and guests of the hotel, and share the Gospel.  My purpose in sharing this is not receive comments of praise, rather to share a bad attitude I have seen rampant in our society.  In essence, another spin on being a Monday Morning Christian.

This morning I awoke with my nice, warm, cup of coffee, the smell of pancakes being made, and the sound of laughter from my boys.  I slept in a comfortable bed, and have the luxury of AC in my home.  I am blessed beyond measure.  Then I read this article in the Ocala Star Banner: "Power Turned off at Ocala Inn".  I about spit out my coffee.  I recognized the name of the hotel where Eric goes every Friday afternoon!  I showed the article to Eric and he knew the one family mentioned in the article; the family that works the front office and makes $160/month.  We immediately began to make a bunch of phone calls and gather up some items for the people at the Ocala Inn.  Eric was also grateful for a generous donation from Panera Bread last night.  He wanted to show up this afternoon with an abundance of food and items to bless the people that live there, regardless of their situation and no strings attached.

The Ocala Inn is not a 5 star hotel by any stretch of the imagination.  There are some people that live there because they cannot afford anywhere else to go.  Eric has even seen a pimp beat on a man who was there to visit a prostitute.  Not really a place where people would willingly go to rent a room for a family vacation.  But week after week Eric and another man go and they have come to know some of the people there.  The people are being met where they are at.  Eric and his friend are bringing Jesus to them. 

After Eric left to head over to the church for the day I went back to read the article again and then scrolled down to the comments section.  Generally, people left comments about how they felt badly for the people at the hotel, especially the children.  There was one comment, however, that showed a calloused side.  Allow me to share it with you:

"OMG...The people portrayed in the pictures number one...don't need to have any more kids...number 2...should quit 7 dollars a pack...think of your kids and do something better with the money rather than waste it. Imagine the savings they would have after one month!".

I read that and bristled.  Sure, smoking is a filthy habit. I totally agree with that.  And the number of children that the one couple has?  Two (to me that is not too many- most of my friends have at least 4 - ha ha!). But the person who made this comment obviously has not met the people in the pictures that accompanied the article.  My husband has.  He knows their story.  Would Jesus just ignore someone because they smoked?  Somehow I doubt it.  After all, Jesus dined with the sinners.  He met them were they were at.  He sought them out and showed them mercy.

It is so easy to judge someone or a situation.  So very, very easy.  We can sit back, read the article and think of all the reasons why someone might be in that situation.  Drugs?  Alcohol?  Prostitution?  Sure, some of those things may visit that hotel more often than not, but that is not the case for everyone at that place.  No matter, however, Jesus commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31).  I do not know if the person who made that comment is a Christian, but sadly I've heard my Christian brothers and sisters make similar comments.  I, too, have been just as guilty.

Do Justice:  Help those that cannot help themselves.  Or help someone in a way so that they CAN help themselves.  Have you ever heard the saying. "Give a man a fish and he will remain hungry.  Teach the man to fish and he will never be hungry again"?  Sometimes we have to give someone the "fish" a few times so he can trust us to teach him.

Love Mercy:  Have mercy on people even if they do not deserve it.  Newsflash:  nobody on this earth deserves to spend eternity in heaven.  But God had mercy on us as a human race and sent Jesus Christ to be a living sacrifice.  Only by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior can we receive mercy (John 3:16).  So if we have received this wonderful gift, why not share it?  Who are we to decide who gets saved and who doesn't?  If people didn't go to where the sinners are, how are the sinners receiving mercy?  Sadly, I would like to also point out that there are even people in our churches that need mercy, too.  Often we just write them off and withhold the love and mercy that they are to receive.

Walk Humbly:  To be honest, what I get from those two words are this: that just because you and I may be saved does not mean that we are better than anyone else.  We must not forget that at one time we were ugly before the sight of God, too.  Unfortunately we still sin and need to seek our Lord's forgiveness.  When we approach someone who may be in sin and hurting (sin and hurt usually go hand in hand) we must not be the hellfire and brimstone preacher.  Yes, speak the truth, but in love.  Humbly.

That being said, I personally challenge you, wether you are a Christian or not, to "do justice, love mercy, and to walk humbly".


Jennifer said...

Hey, easy on the smokers now...some of us SMOKE you know :) :) But I'm glad you posted this. I hope that comment did not come from anyone you know! It's full of criticism that truly isn't someone's right to make - even if you 'think' it for a second, you have to recognize that it's not right (I usually some point.) I'm glad Eric does this, but it doesn't surprise me based on what I know of him. In other news, I can't convince Jon to rent a car and drive 3.5 hours to come and see you, but he's going to be in Florida for almost a week on a business trip. I think he's in Ft Myers! He swears he'll be busy in meetings the whole time he's there, but I wish I could come along with him and visit you!

The Monier Family said...

Jen: LOL! I don't think smokers are heathens!! LOL!! It is not healthy, but neither is eating candy like it is going out of style... I wouldn't know *anything* about that....LOL!!!