Melody Colliate is one who has committed to living this radical act. She blogged:
"What makes someone undesirable? Their physical appearance? Their actions? Does God see people as undesirable?
"I did what I could to change the situation and we ended up in separate rooms. But a week later I heard an angel voice telling me that I needed to befriend this girl so that I could grow..."
What she did next was pretty remarkable. And the sharing in the comments section after her post will warm your heart and impel you to stretch your love muscles - finding no one is out of reach.
I left a comment, too. I told a story that I also shared last Christmas in a post - an unforgetable experience of reaching out and touching someone who hadn't been touched in a long time.
It was clearly his first time in this church. I helped him with the hymnal and showed him how to follow the order of service. A few minutes into the worship, he became very restless and agitated. He smelled strongly of alcohol and appeared to be struggling with withdrawal.
I reached out and took his hand. He became very still as he clutched mine. For the rest of the hour he barely moved. I had the sense that he hadn't had such human contact for a really long time and was afraid that I might let go.
I couldn't let him go. My heart wouldn't let me.
I held his hand for the entire service. At the end, he turned to me and said, "I love you." Then he made his way to the lobby where he was greeted by the church members.
I thought about his courage. He broke through the resistance to attend a service at a church he had never visited before, to leave the bottle and his shopping cart full of his belongings outside, to enter even though he was unbathed and didn't know what type of reception he might receive.
This man entered the church, sat next to me and gave me the gift of his presence. He loved me and gave me an opportunity to love him right back - simply by taking his hand in mine. This experience changed forever how I think of loving one's neighbor, and of the healing impact of touching the so-called "untouchables."
Matthew tells of Jesus healing a man of leprosy simply through breaking cultural and religious laws that restricted human contact with a person in that state.
The Message (Eugene Peterson) says, "A leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, "Master, if you want to, you can heal my body." Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, "I want to. Be clean." Then and there, all signs of the leprosy were gone."
Fear of contagion or of critics was nothing to Jesus when it came to loving and healing. No one was beyond his touch. Jesus was a true friend.
1. BE childlike.
2. BEFRIEND lepers, prostitutes, “undesirables.”
3. CAST the beam out of your own eye.
4. CHALLENGE Pharisees.
5. DO GOOD to people who hate you.
6. FEED the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter strangers, visit prisoners.
7. FORGIVE 70 x 7.
8. HEAL the sick, cast out evil, raise the dead.
9. LIVE more abundantly.
10. LOSE your life to find it.
11. LOVE your neighbor as yourself.
12. MULTIPLY loaves and fishes.
13. SEEK the kingdom first — don’t worry about food/drink/clothing.
14. SELL what you have - give to the poor.
15. TAKE up your bed and walk.
16. TRAVEL without a wallet.
17. WASH someone’s feet.
18. WALK on water.
Also, if you aren't yet a subscriber,
a full-text version of the blog can be delivered to your email inbox.
It's easy to sign up in the sidebar.
You may also wish to:
VISIT MY WEBSITE HOME PAGE
READ MORE BLOG POSTS
FIND A LIST OF MY OTHER PUBLISHED CONTENT