With Jesus people are number one.

For genuine followers of Jesus, people become top priority as well, regardless of background. Some people can rub you the wrong way, difficult individuals whom I used to refer to as “Social Sandpaper” people. We all need to understand that we could be that type of person, we can all be abrasive at times and some live that way day in and day out, at any age.

At a third grade Sunday school, the children were being taught the Ten Commandments. The previous week they had learned to honor their mother and father. The teacher asked, “Can anyone tell me if there is one that refers to brothers and sisters?” A little girl’s hand immediately shot up “Yes there is a commandment about brothers, the one that says, ‘“Thou shall not kill”.

Since George Floyd died in America, the daily news has been full of claims and counter claims during rallies world-wide; holding up placards “Black people Matter” countered by “White people Matter”. All of a sudden it seems the whole world cares about people – as long as you belong to the right race! The Bible makes no such distinction because Galatians 3:26-28 offers the solution.

“You are all Sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

The key to loving people is learning to love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). When we come to Christ, we do not judge men in a carnal, earthly way according to appearances, human credentials or national origin, 2 Corinthians 5:16 tells us “From now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view”, (as we once did). In verse 14 since the resurrection, the love of Christ compels us to love people, especially the unwanted.

An artist came to the same spot every day, his passion was painting human faces. Each face told many different stories, some filled with joy, others with pain and sadness. One day a homeless man sitting across the path caught the artist’s eye who resolved to paint the man as he imagined he could be. The final stroke revealed the man with a broad smile. The artist called the man over, “Is that me?” he asked. “Yes; that is the ‘you’ I see” replied the artist. After a brief tearful silence, the man declared, “If that’s the man you see in me, then that’s the man I’m going to be”. That is how Jesus changes people.

“Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well, in John 4, to us; everything seemed to count against her but that isn’t the way Jesus sees people. How can we connect with people if we step around “social sandpaper” people? Jesus sees the potential in people and He ‘sands’ the rough edges off us until we mature. By asking for a cup of water, Jesus was saying, “I love all people – your race, your religion, your gender, your past doesn’t matter to me because you are a highly valued person needing salvation”. When unwanted people meet Jesus, they want to tell the whole world,

“Do not forget to entertain strangers for by so doing, some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2).

All people really do matter to Jesus and His followers.

Author: John Shepherd

Photo by Firdaus Roslan on Unsplash