In reading the words that follow–which I hope you will take some time to read and especially if you “identify” as a Christian–I would urge you to come back to these questions and think about them:
How is bashing, trashing and labeling a homeless beggar or some poor person, who may be stuck in government dependency and generational poverty, as “a scumbag” or “welfare queen” or “loser” or “worthless piece of (you-know-what)” conducive to evangelism–to paving the way for people to come to a new and productive life in Christ?”
How is such bashing and trashing and labeling in any way advancing the kingdom of God on Earth as it is in heaven?
How is it that Christians, so many of whom are guilty of such language, don’t consider the language of trashing, bashing, labeling and demonizing as obscene?
If you passed by the guy with Jesus in the front seat with you, would you call the guy a scumbag or a “worthless piece of (something)?” When did Jesus ever say anything remotely like, “Don’t be like the scumbags?” Or, “Look at those bums, too lazy and worthless to lift themselves up by the bootstraps?”
“God don’t make no trash,” the old saying goes.
This we know because Jesus and the Bible tell us so.
“Trash” ain’t created in the image of the Creator.
So here’s an idea, fellow Christians:
Let’s stop bashing and trashing those we deem unworthy, which include, but is not limited to:
so many of the poor among us, the “welfare queens,” the “scumbags,” the “losers,” the homeless “bums” on the corners who “oughta get a job,” undocumented immigrants, the “other” and whoever that despised “other” might be in our superior judgment.
That is, whomever in our biased, godless judgments that we dismiss as unfit for our love, or unworthy, perhaps, even of God’s love.
God’s will for us is to see all the aforementioned through the corrected vision that Jesus gives us in salvation.
And mind you, I’m not saying this is easy. We all have our prejudices and biases. We all are prone to making snap judgments, or rigidly remaining comfortable with our harsh, judgmental and longstanding prejudices.
It takes some hard, spiritual work to love others as we love ourselves, to do unto all the “others” as we would have them do unto us.
But we can begin this spiritual discipline by dropping all that demeaning and dehumanizing language that even we Christians so casually slap on people that we see or so much as hear or read about.
Might I suggest that we need to work hard and then harder at dropping all those demonizing labels that we as Christians use (trash, scumbags, welfare bums, parasites, losers, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.)
So many among our Christian lot deplore the fact that nasty, obscene language is now part of culture and public discourse, and I’m in with that. My parents would be appalled at the casual, widespread use of vulgarity, especially the “f-bomb,” everywhere we turn.
But all the aforementioned words (trash, scumbags, bums, etc.)–is this not equally “nasty language” from our lips to God’s ears?????
Would we use such vulgar labels in front of Jesus, the “Prince of Peace?”
Jesus could be fiery and harsh and righteously indignant, mincing no words in his condemnation of hypocrites.
But when did Jesus ever say anything remotely like, “Don’t be like the scumbags?” Or, “Look at those bums, too lazy and worthless to lift themselves up by the bootstraps?”
I ask again:
How is the language of such bashing and trashing of the poor (especially those who’ve known nothing since birth but government dependency and the deadening cycles of poverty), the homeless, the beggars, the outcasts, the marginalized, the downtrodden and the down-and-out–the very people that Jesus attracted and desired to attract–how is that conducive to evangelism?
How does such labeling and isolating pave the way for showing anybody the way to new life in Christ?
Christians, everyone we see with our supposedly Christian eyes–no matter how dirty or “trashy” we see them as being–no matter how ugly or shiftless or lazy or violent, whether it’s the prisoner on death row or “those people” across the tracks or down on the city’s toughest side . . . even they are what John Wesley described as “the offspring of God” and “candidates” for eternal life with God.
The dirt-poor beggars, the shunned and despised outcasts, the alleged “losers” of the world–John Wesley was about as good a friend outside of Nazareth as “those people” ever had.
Wesley believed that when we genuinely attain new life in Christ–when our blindness is cured in salvation and we can see as if for the first time–we see anew because salvation comes with what he described as spiritual eyes.
Wesley himself certainly saw everybody and everything in life through very spiritual eyesight:
“A poor wretch cries to me for alms: I look, and see him covered with dirt and rags. But through these I see one that has an immortal spirit, made to know, and love, and dwell with God to eternity. I honour him for his Creator’s sake. I see through all these rags, that he is purpled over with the blood of Christ. I love him for the sake of his Redeemer.
“The courtesy, therefore, which I feel and show toward him is a mixture of the honour and love which I bear to the offspring of God; the purchase of his Son’s blood, and the candidate for immortality. This courtesy let us feel and show toward all and we shall please all men to their edification” (“On Pleasing All Men”, Works, VII: 145).
If there was anything in this world that John Wesley hated it was slavery–an institution that he denounced and fought against with a fierce passion. This at a time, of course, when it was considered a biblical given that slavery was sanctioned from on high, and African slaves were considered less then human.
Wesley looked at the slaves he saw being traded through his spiritual eyesight and didn’t see the slaves as sub-human, but instead saw men and women created as much in the image of God as he was:
“Are not these [slaves] also the work of thine hands, the purchase of thy Son’s blood? . . . Thou Savior of all, make them free, that they may be free indeed!” (“Thoughts Upon Slavery”, Works, XI: 79).
With those thoughts in mind I repeat:
“God don’t make no trash.”
“Trash” ain’t created in the image of the Creator.
So let’s stop with the trashing and start up some conversations about how to build more bridges and fewer walls.
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