And a leper came to Him, beseeching Him and falling on His knees before Him, and saying to Him, " If you are willing, you can make me clean." And moved with COMPASSION, He stretched out His hand, and touched Him, and said to Him, “I am willing; be cleansed".
Mark 1:40 -41
Many are familiar with the above scenario and many have pondered upon these verses, acknowledging Jesus as the healer and how He can truly cleanse us if we really want to especially spiritually. However, COMPASSION is the key concentration for this sharing. Jesus was moved by compassion and thus healed the leper.
Back in the times when Jesus physically walked on the earth, lepers were considered dirty and the outcasts of the society. Back then, people were forbidden to touch the lepers. However, Jesus not only agreed to heal Him; He also touched Him.
How many of us today longed to go for mission trips or be a missionary in distant lands to reach out to these marginalized, poor ‘lepers’ of today? We want to do something good. We want to make a difference in the lives of the poor especially in countries where there is famine. How many of us after watching news of disasters and floods in the news are moved by the devastation that occurs and hope to be part of the rescue team? These are noble wishes and great charitable acts. However, how many of us failed to look in our own backyards?
If we truly open the eyes of our hearts, there are many that are hurting around us. There are many that are spiritually hungry. There are many on the brink of suicide. There are many who are lonely, lost and misunderstood.
How many times do we close an eye and walk away when we see a beggar coming to us? How many of us would judge a young boy in the streets with some tattoos and piercings and say in our hearts, ‘Go away, and don’t disturb us. We don’t want to have anything to do with you, the troublemakers of society’. Perhaps this young man is lost with no family and no home to call his own. Would we not drive him into further desperation and crimes or even suicide if no one is willing to reach out to him?
Why are we quick to judge? We might have a neighbour who stays just next door but because he or she is of a different race or religion from us, we try our best to stay away. I remember a heart-breaking incident in one of the cities of Asia. An African friend of mine who was studying there was just crossing the road minding his own business and the moment he passed a car with Asian passengers in the car, the driver quickly locked the car fearing he was a criminal just because he is different. How would you feel if that was you and you were all alone in a distant land, far from home and perhaps, very lonely? Racism is still rampant although we claim to be more civilized.
What can you do as a Christian? If you believe you want to spread the messages of Christ, you can start now. Mission begins where you are. Look around you. There might be lonely students from faraway lands who might need your help. There might be refugees who just live across the street and could use some of your old pots and pans. Sometimes just a smile can brighten someone’s day. Perhaps even within your own family. Maybe some cousin of yours is going through a divorce, or financial difficulties. Is it so much to grab the phone and ask if they need help? Perhaps all they need is just an ear to listen.
Though God may call some as missionaries to foreign lands, He also calls each of us to be His witnesses and to proclaim His messages. What better way than to act like He did to the leper? Be compassionate. Reach out in love. After all, we are the mirrors of Jesus and His words. We could be the only bible others will ever see. As the old saying goes, “Action speaks louder than words”.
Look in your backyard. Someone might need you. Perhaps God is calling you to him or her. Perhaps this is your mission for now.
God bless you as you approach the end of the year. May the remaining days of 2013 be a good reflection time as you continue your life-long mission trip with Him and may He keep you close to Him as you continue to be His instrument of love and peace. Amen.
I would like to leave you a poem that I've written sometime back.
'Look at My Heart'
Don't condemn me by my tattoo,
Don't despise me by my scruffy clothes,
Don't criticise me by my unusual toenail colours,
Don't scrutinise me by my quirky hairdos,
Don't ignore me by my smelly odour,
Don't forsake me by my handicapped limbs,
Don't hate me by my skin colour,
Don't crucify me by my different ways
You don't know my life story,
You don't know my history
Don't judge me by my appearance
Look at my heart
Judge not and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned.
As the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover.
I hope you'll be inspired not to stop reaching out to people based on how they look.