What do we see when a homeless person confronts us for money to buy food?
Do we see a probable drug addict?
Do we see a pest? An aggravation?
Do we see a lazy person who won’t work and lives off others?
Do we see a person who is rightly bearing the consequences of bad decisions?
Do We see a demand on our time and hurry away?
Do we see dirty clothes and smell an unbathed body and avoid the person?
All of the above and many more may be our actions and thoughts as we see this homeless person standing before us pleading for money. We see what we look for!
The question I have is: How many of us see “one of God’s children?”
Because standing in front of us is a child of God—created in the image of God according to Genesis (see Genesis 1:27–“So God created humankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them…”
This image of a child of God is the image that we see as followers of Jesus the Christ if we look at the person through Jesus’ eyes. If we are looking for one of God’s children that is who we will find. And in the name of Jesus the Christ we will reach out to that child of God with God’s love and compassion and respect —-just as Jesus did long ago in Galilee when he reached out to the prostitute, the leper, the cheating tax collector, the blind beggars, the Samaritan woman at the well and so many others. We will reach out as fellow-children of the God who loves and blesses all His children and we will help in what way we are able to. We will hug that homeless person even though he or she may be dirty and smell bad. We will see and respond to them as one of God’s children to another—with love and compassion.
Richard Rohr writes: “We cannot be timid about this clear teaching of Jesus after centuries of Christians fighting over their formulations and rituals while unable or unwilling to see God in one another, in other races, in other religions, in the poor, in the weak…” (R. Rohr, Enneagram. xxi)
What we see is what we look for. If we look for God in other people we will find one of God’s children looking back at us, and our actions and thoughts will be guided by God. We will look at them as one of God’s children, created in his image, and we will love them. For, as I John 4:7-8 tells us: “Beloved, let us love one another, because loves is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love, does not know God, for God is love.”