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  • Writer's pictureAnn Skalaski

Shades and Haters

By Maddie

“Rose quit squinting, just put your sunglasses on.”

“I can’t see the fishing line with these glasses on, Mom. Everything is purple and the line seems invisible when I have them on.”

She was right. Her bright purple lenses hindered her ability to see clearly. My 8 year-old daughter’s perspective was changed; so your girl just ditched her shades on a sunny day so she could see what was right in front of her.

It got me thinking about what kind of lenses might hinder my perspective. What is right in front of me, or better yet, who? Am I really seeing them as “Imago Dei” - people made in the image of God?

What comes to my mind about someone representing LGBTQ pride?

How about people who practice another religion?

What pops into my brain when I think of affluent people? The homeless? Atheists? Gun enthusiasts? Instagram influencers? Professional athletes? Confederate flag-in-your-front-yard-type of Southerners? Sales reps? Immigrants? Models? Farmers? The list goes on and on…

What comes to YOUR mind? Are we blinded by a pair of not-so-loving shady sunglasses we personally developed through the years? Have we formed our own opinion about people we don’t know? If we’ve pegged a stranger as one of THOSE people…does that projection on them affect how we love or even attempt to know them?

Lover or Hater

Jesus was asked what the most important rule to follow was and he replied:

“‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” -Matthew 22:37-39

Love God and love people. Treat people the way we’d like to be treated. What if we were in their shoes, living their reality? Except can we even know their reality if we do not know them? Are we even willing to try? It is so simple yet so rare to see love between people who think, act, or look differently.

Say this out loud: “I could be wrong. I COULD BE WRONG!”

Ooooooweeee that's no fun to say. I think I just gagged.

Even better ask this out loud: “Am I a hater?”

Ahhhh. It's true. More than likely both you and I are wrong, in more than one area, about more than one person. And we could possibly be haters. Yep.

My daughter, Rose, wouldn’t have been able to take off her sunglasses if she was in denial that they were on her face. We can not take off our “shades” of broken perspective if we refuse to confess they are there. Don’t be shady. Pun intended.

Just Don’t

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the GOODNESS AND LOVING KINDNESS of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us but according to HIS OWN MERCY…But avoid foolish controversies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law for they are unprofitable and worthless.” (Titus 3:3-5 & 9)

Perhaps we should argue less and love more; profile less and love more; assume less and love more. Love covers a multitude of sins. Speaking of sin, we ALL do it and fall dreadfully short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) So we are ALL bringing our unique brand of “sin cocktail'' to the table. Can we love each other well in spite of our differences?

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” -1 Peter 4:8

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:34-35

Love is a choice, not a feeling. It’s a command, not an option. LOVE IS WHAT WILL DRAW PEOPLE TO JESUS. Love as HE loved! Don’t be a hater.

Jesus, in Your mercy please give us the grace necessary to recognize broken perspectives. Help us to love and forgive us for hate. We need Your help to love as Jesus did. In the name of Jesus we pray that you will enable us to see people the way you see them and love well. Help us have love for one another. AMEN

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