From a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack shared this message that he had received from a follower of his blog – “Did you see NYT article regarding what the Pope said about giving to panhandlers? He wants us to look them in the face, share a kind word and…not judge them or decide if they “merit” our help.” (BB in Illinois
How often we all rush to judgement about whether someone or some cause merits our act of kindness or giving. It is all too easy to have the thought “get a job” escape our minds and come out of our mouths as we walk past the man begging on the corner. Or perhaps a flash of disdain overcomes us as we watch the story of a young black mother with her three children burned out of their home on the nightly news. Maybe we pull back the hand of friendship from the person whom we are told is a member of the LGBTIQ community. Those people, we may think don’t merit our help or friendship or pity. After all they brought this on themselves, right?
Imagine if God had looked down on mankind and the messes that they make for themselves and decided that we didn’t merit sending his only son to die for us and for the forgiveness of our sins. We certainly brought all of our sins upon ourselves and it would seem didn’t merit the love that He showed when he sent Jesus to live among us. How did we merit that?
The answer is found not in our merit for that gift; but, in in God’s love for us that is so strong that it needs see no merit in us in order to save us. All He needs to see is acceptance of His love and acknowledgement of Him in our lives. Do we merit God’s love? Of course not. What could we possibly do to merit His love? The path to God is not marked by accomplishments and it is not earned by good works. Mark Twain put it this way – “Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”
Perhaps, then, we should spend less time judging the merit of others to receive our help and just go with God’s plan and guidance for us in John 13:34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” There was no mention of or need for merit in that guidance. If we do that, maybe the next line in that scripture by John will also come true – “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Have a great, judgement free day and weekend. Show everyone who you are by loving one another.