It all starts and stops here.
Whether or not exactly true, details matter not. The crux of this story is how people who call themselves Christians treat the very ones that Christ himself had no problem hanging and breaking bread with.
For me, this is personal.
I've been thinking lately of a family; the older son I taught in Sunday school a number of years ago. His mom, I was told at the time, had volunteered to teach, but was turned away because a number of families threatened to withdraw from the religious program if she did.
I remember thinking at the time how appalling it was that some one willing and able to volunteer to teach (especially given the dearth of volunteers and none of these people threatening were willing to step into the gap) would be turned down because of her differences. I won't lie; she marches to a different drummer. So do I, so I can certainly appreciate what that looks like.
I didn't say anything, though; I just nodded, the conversation continued, and that was the end of it.
But the family was always kind of there on my radar, since ours is a small community. And I watched the kids grow up at a distance. I was told at the end of that year teaching that my student had an IEP. I hadn't realized it until it was pointed out to me. I had treated him as I treated all the rest of my students, and he did a great job of learning what he needed to learn.
I saw him again about a month ago at a community function while I was manning a food stand. He approached me, and I remember, inwardly, my jaw dropping. Food on his face, ketchup smeared on his shirt, he asked me for something. I smiled at him, answered, gave it to him. And inwardly I wondered what happened to the small, bright-eyed boy who had been my student years ago.
And of course I couldn't help comparing him to my older boy, who is nearly the same age.
Which leads me to wonder what happened in the intervening years, and led me to appreciate how my family looks, and how we are treated in the same context.
After all, it wasn't lost on me that some people opted for their child to skip PREP K when they found out I taught it. I never really cared, frankly. My students always had a good time.
But, getting back to my original thought. I've spent a lot of time thinking and praying on the least of my brothers and sisters, and what I can do to help.
The answer is always "Look in the mirror."
Before you change the world, you need to change your heart.
Forget Christian. Be Christ-like.
That's what He wants.
For the least of your brothers.