“He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.” Proverbs 14:31
Many people, myself included, can have the habit of making assumptions of people based on their looks, their career, where they live and how they present themselves. With those assumptions often come biases on how we interact with those individuals. Whether it is a person that seems to be homeless on the streets you pass by, someone in a second hand store, a family on line at a food bank to someone getting out of a BMW at Niemann Marcus, we will likely react differently to each of these individuals.
My mom and I had a brief discussion last night that really brought this into a different light for me. She is/was upset how a man in Ireland that was one of the three children that had seen the Virgin Mary in Lourdes was homeless most of his life and was buried in a paupers grave yard. This recently changed when his body was buried near St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. I understand why she is upset. This man was blessed to have had an encounter with our Lord’s mother and was forgotten and left on the streets.
I understand but I disagree- in concept. I believe that we can at times be blessed with such beautiful experiences as those three children did at Lourdes. However, I disagree that anyone should have been treated in any special manner because of it. They all should be treated with love and respect. It is a human response to treat one person better than another. Thankfully we know by scripture that God is no respecter of man. (Romans 2:11) What does this mean? He has absolutely NO favorites! Not those children, not Mother Teresa, not the Pope or the best priest or pastor you know. He loves each of us equally.
One of the points I tried to explain to her is that there were so many that were lost and left behind in Ireland over the past 100 years. One such example are the many children/babies that were killed in the unwed mothers homes. All those broken families, all the hurt and pain that happened. The wound reopened recently when a mass grave was found of babies that were killed. All those babies and unwed mothers needed to be recognized too. It is such a sad situation because after so many abuses that happened within the church and within families, there are very few in Ireland that go to church regularly or believe in God at all now. All those lives that have been effected, possibly for eternity.
It has made me question…what are we doing for those that are in need around us? Whether it is the financially poor or the poor ‘in spirit’. Are we showing love, grace and mercy to those around us or are we walking by and forgetting them? Maybe assuming that someone else will make sure they are OK…This makes me think of when we ask someone ‘How are you?’ and we continue to walk by without actually listening to what their answer is. I’ve made a concerted effort over the last few years to really listen and when someone gives an answer besides ‘OK’, I will stop and ask what’s going on. We all can use a loving ear to share our difficulties with.
The scripture above describes it well. How God looks at our treatment of others.
He who oppresses: oppress-defraud, violate, get deceitfully, deceive, defraud…
the poor: the weak or thin, lean, needy, poor, weaker
taunts His maker; taunts-to defame, blaspheme, defy
But he who is gracious: gracious-numerous, rich, honorable, glorify
to the needy: needy-destitute, needy, poor
honors Him.: honors-glorify, be glorious
It is all too easy to ‘mind our own business’ and not get involved. To let someone else take up the slack and do the volunteering, organizing events etc…Maybe that is a gift that you can share but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that involved. Take the time to say Hi to someone you normally would have just walked past. Buy a cup of coffee or a meal for someone or just lend your ear. I can be self involved at times so now I will often ask God during my morning prayers to show me someone I could be a blessing to that day…He always does. Without Him I will likely overlook possibilities of being able to be a blessing.
I pray that God continues to open our hearts and minds to His will and gives us the courage to step out and show HIS love, grace and mercy to those around us.
Have a blessed Thursday!
In Jesus’ precious name.