Why do I judge people? What is wrong with me? Who do I think I am anyway?
It seems like when people aren’t like us, or we see something we don’t necessarily like, we jump to conclusions about what they’re like. We don’t get to know them, don’t ask them their story, or maybe we even ignore them altogether.
I know people that are literally changing the world, and I’m pretty sure you would walk by them and not give them a second thought. In fact, if you met them, it would be the very last thing you would think…that God chose them to change the world.
We tend to have such tunnel vision, appreciating people for what we are attracted to in them: if their values are the same as ours, or if they laugh at the same things we laugh at, or if they like the same person running for president that we like (or dislike the same one we dislike!). What if they go to a different kind of church than we do? What if they have tattoos? Or what if they don’t? What if they dress funny or have a different cultural background than us? Yikes!
If you were to meet Harry (not his real name), you probably wouldn’t be impressed. Harry was a young adult that my husband and I knew a long time ago. He had short, bushy hair, and funny teeth. He was overweight and had really bad BO. Let me just say that he didn’t have a lot of girlfriends either. But, he loved Jesus with abandon. One day he came to my husband (his pastor) and said that he wanted to take Mark 10:21 literally. He felt like God had told him to sell his business, sell all his “stuff,” and move to Poland to start a church. Bill actually said, “Harry, are you sure you want to do that?” My husband wasn’t sure if Harry really knew what he was saying. But Harry said yes. Shortly after that conversation he sold his business and everything else he owned and moved to Poland. It was there that he met his wife, and 30 years later there is a movement of believers and churches in Poland that he birthed.
God chooses the unlikely—the ones who say yes—and empowers them to change the world. And they do.
I don’t want to ignore the Harrys. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to pour into someone that I think might not appear to have what it takes to be used by Jesus. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to get to know and glean from the wisdom of someone just because they don’t seem very smart, are a little rough around the edges, or don’t have a hip wardrobe. I will miss out.
I’m pretty sure Jesus chose some not-so-attractive, rough-around-the-edges guys to change the world. And I guess you could say it was worth it—because they definitely did.
What About You?
Who do you have in your sphere of influence like Harry? Can you think of someone that you made a judgment about this week? Maybe you should take another look. Maybe you should stop and get to know them. Ask them their story. Maybe even have coffee with them. Who knows what kind of relationship could develop? It might be the beginning of someone changing the world.
No matter what, “Harry” has a story, and he’s worth listening to. And you might be the one that’s changed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jill Randall serves as the Director of Staff Vitality for Novo/CRM's ChurchNEXT Lead Team. She and her husband Bill live in Nampa, Idaho. Together, they're equipping leaders around the world to follow God with wisdom and boldness, and pioneering new expressions of Church that will multiply disciples. This post was originally shared on Jill's personal blog.