Don't Treat People Like Hangers

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Friendship is selfless love, care, respect, and honor- not a profitable opportunity." -Santosh Kalwar  

I decided I was in a cleaning mood, yesterday. I'm not sure exactly why, but I was. Perhaps it was because I had nothing better to do. Perhaps it was because the room was messy, and God knew that me being in a "cleaning mood" was likely the only reason my room would get cleaned. Perhaps it was because I have plans for painting, and you have to have a clean room before you paint.

Whatever the reason was, it doesn't matter that much in the end.

Especially because when I get in a cleaning mood, I tend to go all out. It's not enough to just pick up stuff on the floor. It's not enough just to sort out my drawers. It's not even enough to do both! Because this was not a clean-what-you-can-see kind of mood. This was a deep-clean-like-there's-no-tomorrow kind of mood.

So I did.

I cleaned out my drawers, re-sorted, and filled up two trash bags of "get rid of." I cleaned out from under the bed. (Probably the scariest job of the day, I'll admit. I may be fifteen, but I still get a little jumpy due to the whole "monsters under the bed" thing. And by monsters, I mean spiders.) And I completely clean out my closet!

The closet was probably my favorite job of the night, because it involved a lot of sorting. And I love sorting.

I pulled all of the clothes out of the closet, pulled them off their hangers, and sorted them into piles of dresses, coats, costumes, and skirts. As I did that, I sorted the hangers between "good hangers" and "bad hangers". The bad hangers were sorted into two more piles- the "fixable" hangers, and the ones that were just plain trash.

It was as I duct-taped these "fixable" hangers that I had an epiphany- we sometimes treat people like hangers.

 What I mean is that we see people who have messed up in their lives- maybe they're doing drugs, or they're alcoholics, or living with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe they're in jail. Or maybe they just have too much baggage. And we come to the conclusion that they're just not fixable. They've hurt us so much, they've messed up so badly... They're too far gone, so we might as well just throw them away.

It's easy to feel that way when people continue to mess up. From the outside looking in, it seems plain what they should do. We see what they're doing wrong and how they could do better, but they don't. And when we continue to see them do things that hurt themselves or others, we start to feel like they're just not worth it anymore. We distance ourselves from them; "bad company corrupts good morals", so I don't really have to love them anymore.

Yet... that's not what God does, is it? Humanity has turned its back on God so many times throughout history. God could have turned His back on us, too; we deserved it.

But God didn't leave us.

He didn't let us wander alone in our sin and mistakes. Jesus entered a world full of sin and pain. He dined with prostitutes and tax collectors. He touched the leper to heal him. And He loved us so much that he allowed Himself to suffer at the hands of sinners to save us who were sinners.

There's a line in a new song called It Was Love that goes "It wasn't nails that held You to the cross- it was love." Couldn't Jesus have saved Himself? Probably. But someone had to die. (Romans 6:23) Someone had to pay for the sins we had committed.

And by all rights, it should have been us.

But Jesus loved us so much that He became the ultimate sacrifice for sins that weren't His.

So if we are called to be the image of Christ, than shouldn't we ministering to and loving these people- despite their past, their baggage, their mistakes... How can we claim to be His hands and feet if we don't love the least of these???

"The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' "

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