We sat across from each other in a moment of silence. He had just shared with me some personal struggles. He was confused and looking for guidance from God in the Bible. So we talked through what the Bible says. And then he threw me a curveball. He said, “Do you think of people differently . . . you know, once you know things like this about them?”
What would you say? Do you think differently about people once you know things about them—things they’re not proud of? I suspect the reason he asked me was because he was afraid that I might think less of him. Would I be disappointed in him? Would I judge him? Would I instantly remember this conversation whenever I saw him in the future? Let’s be honest: It’s a tough thing to put yourself out there and be vulnerable with someone because, well, what if he or she thinks of you differently now?
We can’t control what other people think about us. But we can control what we think about others. And God calls us to change our thinking as we strive to live more and more like Jesus (Romans 12:2).
So does Jesus think about us differently . . . you know, once he knows things about us? No, he doesn’t! The Bible tells us how God chooses to forget the things about us that are wrong, and he won’t remember them (Jeremiah 31:34). It’s because Jesus paid for them. When we come to Jesus, he’s not annoyed and frustrated with us. He doesn’t think less of us because of our weaknesses and our pasts. He’s not picturing every moment we’re embarrassed or ashamed of. He’s a loving Father and a forgiving Friend who says, “Hey, how’s it going? It’s great to hear from you! What’s on your mind?”
And yet, does Jesus think about us differently . . . you know, once he knows things about us? Yes, he does! The Bible also tells us that he knows everything about us, and yet he sympathizes with us in our every need (Hebrews 4:15). When we come to Jesus, he doesn’t give us a pat answer. He doesn’t see us as just part of the crowd. He doesn’t brush us off as people who have way too many problems. He sees each of us as individuals. And because he knows things about us, he sympathizes specifically with each of our life issues. He says, “Hey, I know what you’ve been going through lately. It’s been rough; I understand. I’m here for you.”
I can’t be Jesus for someone else, but I can try to think like Jesus . . . you know, once I know things about people. I don’t need to remember all the stuff they’re embarrassed about or let judgmental thoughts fill my mind. But I also don’t want them to be just part of the crowd that I don’t really care about. I want to love people even more once I know things about them. I want to say specific prayers for them when I see them, because I know what they’re going through. I want to be a blessing for them during this time of their lives. I want to be forgiving and sympathetic like Jesus.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that question since the day that he asked me. Could I get you to think about it today too?
How do you think about people . . . you know, once you know things about them?
Kurt Wetzel is the mission pastor at Cross of Christ Church in Boise, Idaho. He and his wife, Stephanie, and their three children are loving the sunshine and Idaho in spring. They’re excited for all the mission opportunities in their part of the country and to welcome the newest addition to their family in about a month.
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