Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
I do not agree with the big way of doing things. To us what matters is an individual. To get to love the person we must come in close contact with him. If we must wait till we get the numbers, then we will be lost in the numbers. And we will never be able to show that love and respect for the person; every person is Christ for me, and since there is only one Jesus, that person is only one person in the world for me at that moment. -Mother Teresa
Respect for the person...it is something that you see so powerfully in the life of Jesus. Whores, outcasts, blue collar sinners, money hungry rich guys...were all treated with a loving respect that often ticked off the religious folks. The way he dealt with people that usually got the cold shoulder or the scorn of the pious...had a way of transforming the hearts of those whom Jesus extended dignity towards. In our rush to make converts, grow churches, win the culture war and protect our children from the world...we often end up losing the gentle grace of kindness.
I felt this the other day while at breakfast with my wife. A blind young man came in the restaurant. The door faced everyone in the room. As he came in with his cane, the waitress said hello and made a comment about the special and then hurried off to the kitchen, leaving him standing there unaware that she had quickly left. He started to talk to her as if she was still there; immediately I felt a tinge of awkwardness for him and stepped in to finish the conversation with him. Hoping to soften the embarrassment he might have felt.
Dignity is a cry of the human heart and as followers of Jesus, we are called to care for people, to love them and cover their sins...not expose them, trumpet them and seek to humiliate them in front of others. Like the good son of Noah...we need to back into their lives with a garment of grace and cover their nakedness with gentleness and kindness. Too often the church has been seen as the ridiculing sons of Noah that stand, mock and point their fingers at the sins and humiliations of our brothers and sisters.
I hope that changes in my generation.