01/02/2022 by Rev. Doug Walker 0 Comments
As God Sees Us
As seen in the Village Voice and the HEARTbeat
As God Sees Us!
I can remember the great wisdom my grandparents passed onto me. I hung out in my grandmother’s kitchen a lot. She taught me to not prejudge food based solely on its appearance. Of course, it took hours sitting at a table and told not to move until I tried what was placed in front of me. My grandfather taught me patience, as well as how to work smarter, not harder. Even though the days working with him as a young boy cleaning paint brushes was not my idea of a fun time, looking back on the ways my grandparents taught me extremely valuable life-lessons is today priceless memories and lessons.
One of my roommates in college invited me to Little Rock on one of his trips. I entered his parents’ home, being careful to be respectful to my elders as I was raised with responses coupled with the appropriate “Sir” and “Ma’am.” His father was not at home but I was graciously greeted by his mother. She asked me to come sit beside her, as she wanted to see what I looked like. You see, Mrs. Arvis Harper, Sr. is totally blind. She asked if she could touch my face. I said, “Yes ma’am.” She ran her hands so very gently across my face, through my hair, down my neck onto my shoulders. Then she tenderly put her hand on my cheek and said, “Now I know what you look like.” I responded with, “Yes ma’am.” It was at that moment she responded as if I was one of her own. Mrs. Harper said, “’Oh no! You will call me “Mama” or you’re not welcome in my house again.’” I responded with, “Yes Mama,” and a smile was given in return.
When I was young, I was taught to judge someone by their words, their deeds, and their character. My dad taught me very well. But on the day I entered Mama Harper’s home, she taught me a lesson I will never forget. As a black woman, she had experienced not only hate and segregation growing up, she had undoubtedly been ostracized as a blind person. But she did not allow her environment to dictate who she became. She displayed love, acceptance, and a lesson to this man I will never forget – to “see” a person as God sees them, with love and acceptance no matter what is on the outside. It’s easy to properly “see” people when you first have love for them in your heart.
The Pharisees always tried to trick Jesus. “What is the greatest of all commandments,” they asked. Jesus replied, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.’”
We need to stop trying to tear people down. We need to put love in our hearts every day before we walk out our doors. It’s only then will we have what we need to truly fulfill the greatest of all commandments.