Mercy for a Colorful World
We live in a beautiful created and most colorful world orchestrated by God. Perhaps, you remember singing as a child, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” or “Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World.” The words to these songs make it clear that not only does God love the whole world but every represented color within it. However, it seems that as some of us transitioned into adulthood, the whole world became an individual world. And in these individual worlds, the colors faded. They became only select colors that we chose to surround ourselves with, therefore, losing the beauty of the colored world because we lost the need to see them all equally.
This is not intentional for most, just the effect of busy lives, different paths, and journeys. It is the result of following a life that includes only those that might be following the same route. But, unfortunately, it is in this that the colors of the world begin to fade. This is the place we forget the beauty and importance of all the colors as we selfishly continue on our journey moving aimlessly with blinders on that dims our colorful world.
A world void of color or even certain colors is a dismal world. It is one in which not only loses its beauty but doesn’t function as God intends. This is like a beautiful stain-glass window full of vibrant colors of red, green, purple, yellow, orange, and blue all working together to create not only beauty but a startling and wondrous image. Imagine that stained glass piece with all the rainbows of color shining through the different pieces of colored glass. Now imagine that stain-glass window without color, just clear glass. The beauty and function of the created picture disappear completely.
Truly Seeing a Colorful World
Have we forgotten the importance and necessity of all the hues of beauty in God’s colorful world? As we look to society, we see people whose lives are full of physical, emotional, social, and spiritual sickness. How are we as believers to respond? What role should the church have? Do the crowds of people affect us? Should we respond to those with dreary lives with fear or contempt? Or does the image of the helpless and persecuted people fill us with compassion, as it did Christ?
Jesus came to heal the world. He brought God’s love to earth with Him. The love of God, through Christ, brings today, as it did, centuries ago, life, health, a wholeness, and most importantly the cleansing through the forgiveness of sins. However, Christ didn’t come for only a select few. He came to serve all the colors of the world, His Father created. Scriptures tell us Jesus came for all the people of the world. And it is in this; He continues to bring hope to the full colorful world.
When we look to the world and our micro-communities, we must see all the people within it. This includes making sure that all the colors of the world, like all the colors of the stain-glass gospel, have representation. If we work diligently to see all the people of the world, we see the beauty created from the colorful whole picture of who God is. When we see the world through all the colors He created, we too can have compassion for those that need help, representation, and Christ, the Good Shepherd.
When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.Matthew 9:36 (NLT)
Ordinary or Extraordinary?
This week is the second Sunday of Pentecost. I read the other day that this period within the church is called the Ordinary Time. So, technically this could be called the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time. I don’t know about you, but the current state of the world seems anything but ordinary. Extraordinary might be a better term. But perhaps that is too, a wrong way to think. Maybe instead we should view each day no matter what is occurring in the world as extraordinary times and such that we must pay attention to each with full knowledge that every day counts and matters.
This means that yesterday matters as much as today and that today is just as important as tomorrow. We must see each day clearly in the world around us in which we live and the world that God loves enough to die for. But sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our little world we don’t see fully what is going on around us. In our world of constant news stimuli, we often hear before we truly see and that allows us to tune things out or form judgments rather than see others with eyes of Christ-like hearts.
Regardless of whether we see or not, God sees and works in the lives of even those who don’t know His name. But we can see too if we will stop looking inward and instead look outward. This doesn’t mean we neglect those in our immediate world because we are part of it too. But Christ calls us to remember that our immediate world is not the whole world. And it’s the whole world that God holds in His hands, not just our little part.
Do More than Look, but Truly See
Matthew and Mark both tell us that Jesus felt overwhelmed and with full compassion for the people. He responded with the echoes of God’s depth of mercy. Christ saw all the people, just as He sees us. If we desire to be like Christ, we too must do more than look at people, we must see them. This means that prejudging and categorizing must not be part of how we see. If we lift our eyes to see all people as worthy of compassion and care we might just see how we can help and respond.
When we seek to see people, we must rely on God for help and not our own resources. But the first step is to see others. Too often we approach people with a wrapped-up package of answers to how we can solve all their problems. It is important that as we approach our “neighbors” we don’t come to “fix’ or berate them. We must come to see them. Therefore, we can’t rely on our theology, denominations, or worship preferences. We must come with empty hands so we can see our neighbors clearly as they are. That is being like Jesus. He came and He saw first.
First Step to Responding to the World
This is our starting point as well when we seek to engage with the colorful world around us. But we must get out in the world if we want to see it for, we can’t hide behind the walls of our homes or churches. We must be both approachable and accessible just like Christ. He met the people where they were and took an active role. Sometimes it helps to stand in the place of another for a moment, as this helps us see what it feels like to be seen and not ignored. To experience that someone truly sees us, yet still manages to love and accept us. That is how to make a difference in our lives, hearts, and self-image and this translates to others.
We live in a colorful world that is crying out for us to do more than look but to see them as the people God created them to be. Let us see with full eyes and hearts being conscientious of other’s needs and desires. Christ did more than show His responsibility as a faithful and loving follower of God. He didn’t just see those who appeared and thought as He did, but He saw also those that often were overlooked and forgotten.
Won’t you take the challenge of Christ to truly see the colorful world around you with your heart? Find your conviction rooted in the teaching of Christ and His demonstration of life and love. Allow your motivation to derive from your abilities to serve God and treat others as you would yourself. Be surrounded in the comfort of knowing that you don’t serve in isolation. Because the Holy Spirit is there to help you every step of the way.
Love in Christ,
God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.Desmond Tutu
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you see the need for compassion and mercy in the colorful world we live in? Have you responded or seen others respond to our colorful world with eyes that truly see? Share your thoughts on the need for believers, nonbelievers, and the church collectively to do more than look but see and respond to people with hearts that can heal physical, emotional, social, and spiritual sickness.