Someone posted a photo of a dirty mattress in a room with paint peeling from the walls, with the ceiling stained from possible water leaks. It’s noted in this person’s post on social media that someone is sleeping there due to the blankets piled on the floor, along with what appears to be soiled clothing. There’s also trash dumped in the corner of the room, old wrappers, empty cans, and pieces of cardboard.
And then, this someone added a caption on the photo telling me that we allow our ‘neighbors’ to live like this, in old buildings, in abandoned spots, in alleys, or in camps.
To toss guilt my way with words in “purposed” posts makes me feel like I’ve ignored or hurt or not taken care of someone. I mean, after all a person I don’t even know or haven’t met isn’t even in the photo.
To imply neglect on my part gets me stirred up. To make me feel responsible for the living arrangements of another person isn’t and shouldn’t be the reason to involve me in someone’s story.
Maybe, an empty room and a choice caption can give off the wrong image. Maybe, the goal of the post isn’t geared to reminding me to look for a lonely heart, but to insinuate my lack of meeting a need. (Not that this can’t be true.)
But instead, I hope to notice the man or woman who might sleep on the mattress, and then to be compelled to love on him or her for Christ.
Guilt or implied guilt isn’t a good reason for me to respond. Christ is the reason I should move, and His compassion should fall from my heart to anyone who is alone or who feels abandoned.
May I see the beautiful people God loves regardless of what circumstances surround their life. He would never abandon anyone. May we look beyond the mattress, beyond the blankets, beyond the stains on the ceiling, and impart hope, share grace and be a friend instead.
You know. All lives matter. And Christ came for all. We can be messengers, and the gospel should be the object of our love for others. May we remember this whenever we step into ministry. Or serve. Or volunteer.
May we obey Christ and be about His business—sincerely! And yes, it’s great to be aware. But to pull the “guilt” chain, it simply chokes me!