Day 10 — A PERSON without Adjectives

“Speak out on behalf of those who have no voice, and defend all those who have been passed over. Open your mouth, judge fairly, and stand up for the rights of the afflicted and the poor.” (Proverbs 31:8–9, The Voice)

What is your attitude toward the poor? I have observed all of the following:

1. They are poor because of their own choices.
2. You can’t trust them.
3. They won’t do anything to help themselves.
4. We should help them to show that we are compassionate people.
5. We should feel guilty for what we have since there are so many who have less.
6. We should make sure they have a Thanksgiving meal or a Christmas tree.

Not only have I observed those, I have felt those.

For me, the biggest challenge is to see a poor person as a person. I have the same challenge with a rich person. Or anyone who is different from me. It is such a temptation to evaluate based on outward appearances.

It happens in church (and it is nothing new): “If an affluent gentleman enters your gathering wearing the finest clothes and priceless jewelry, don’t trip over each other trying to welcome him. And if a penniless bum crawls in with his shabby clothes and a stench fills the room, don’t look away or pretend you didn’t notice — offer him a seat up front, next to you. If you tell the wealthy man, “Come sit by me; there’s plenty of room,” but tell the vagrant, “Oh, these seats are saved. Go over there,” then you’ll be judging God’s children out of evil motives.” (James 2:2–4, Voice)

Certainly there are ways that we, as followers of Christ, can stand up for the rights of the poor and afflicted and speak up for those who have no voice. But maybe the best starting place is too see someone as a PERSON without adjectives. Not a rich or poor person. Not an educated or ignorant person … Not a happy or grumpy person … Or any other modifier. This is simply a PERSON, created in the image of God and loved by God enough that Christ died for him or her.

If we are willing to start with a blank slate and let the rest unfold through conversation and interaction, we will know better how to respond effectively to each individual.

Question: How will you see persons without adjectives today?