On one of my trips to Guatemala, I met a precious lady named Marta and her adorable little girl, Claudia. Marta, like many single mothers in Guatemala, lives well below the poverty line. Her home, which she rents from her brother, is really just a one-room shack with a dirt floor, leaky roof and no toilet. If she needs to use the bathroom, she can use her brother’s, as long as she PAYS him! Her brother treats her very badly. He claims that he is angry with her for having a baby outside of marriage. He’s taken it upon himself to judge and punish her for her sins.
I can’t help but be angry with her brother. There is so much he could do for her to help her out…fix up the house, offer her some food, install a toilet, or at least let her use his for free. But this supposedly “very religious” man looks with disdain upon his sister and refuses to give her and her child any help at all. So, she continues to struggle every day just to survive.
But, in a lot of ways, I am just like Marta’s brother. When I see people going through a hard time, I often find myself looking for what it was that they did to bring on their problems. Maybe if I can figure out where they are at fault then I am somehow relieved of the obligation to get involved, because, after all, they brought it on themselves.
I’m not sure Jesus is too thrilled with this judgmental and self righteous line of thinking. I can’t think of one scripture where Jesus tells us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and give water to the thirsty UNLESS they are sinners who created their own misery. Actually, it was exactly these kinds of people whom Jesus seemed to spend the most time with! Take a few minutes to read John 4 and the story of the Samaritan woman that Jesus encountered at the well. Here was a woman who had been married 5 times and was currently involved in an illicit relationship with a man who she was not married to. Yet, without ignoring her sin, Jesus still showed her love, treated her with kindness and offered her a sip of His living water.
Let’s pray today for hearts that are filled with grace and that a judgmental spirit never gets in the way of our compassion.