… not that I recommend wearing 30yr old vintage shoes found on ebay – that’s gross if you ask me! (but I wouldn’t put someone down if they digg that sort of thing. Fact is, I know someone who does. I’ll call him George, to protect his true identity!)
However, if I were desperate enough, due to my own shoes having a hole in them and having to rough it thru the snow in freezing temps, I wouldn’t hesitate to accept someone’s old, stinky shoes without holes.
OUR PERSPECTIVES CHANGE QUICKLY, GIVEN THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES, DON’T THEY?
Have I truly loved, or was my love tainted with prejudice? Am I able to give myself (my time, energy, and sacrifice my own desires) for the sake of love – or do I give myself out of a sense of duty? Certainly not to those who don’t deserve it. Criminals, for instance. “If anyone does not deserve my love, it is them. How could they possibly do and be what they are? How could they??!! I would never do anything like that!” – know anyone who has said things like that?
Taking politics and law out of the equation for a moment, how do I feel toward the lawless? If murdering someone, even only one person, makes you a murderer, where does that leave me? I’m a liar, a thief and an idolator, to mention only a few things.
What if I had been born into a seriously dysfunctional family in the back woods somewhere and had never witnessed love, compassion or truth in action. I sure didn’t have anything to do with where I was born. How would I have turned out under different circumstances? TRY ON OTHERS’ SHOES FOR SIZE.
Suddenly, I realize that I’m no different than anyone else. Gratitude then fills my heart to overflowing in recognition of the grace bestowed upon me. Without God we are nothing. The agnostic, atheist, criminal, priest, or any saint wouldn’t have a breath left in them if God were not permitting it.
As long as I can remember, I desired to do the ‘right thing’ – turn the other cheek, not require in return what was stolen from me, take time with someone I really didn’t care to be around. Honorable, huh? Actually, I did many right things out of pride! I was afraid of getting caught, afraid of having to pay the consequences, and afraid of losing my status as someone who’s got it all together. More often than less, I did right things out of a sense of duty, instead out of pure love. This became apparent to me as I began putting myself in other people’s shoes. And suddenly, THE WALLS OF PREJUDICE FELL.
Honestly, how often do we have a feeling of ‘Schadenfreude’ when someone gets what’s coming to them. “That’s what they get for worshiping cows!” Put yourself in their shoes – Without truth, Without Jesus, Without, Without, Without.
Solely based on our standing before the Creator – What are we moved by? RELIGION? LOVE? DUTY? SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS?
“How could anyone make a deliberate decision to be homeless and live on the streets, begging for their very existence?” I see it all the time here in Europe. Having thought this many times, I finally tried on their shoes. I’m no different than they are. Love won me over.
1 Jn 4 & 5 – First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first. If anyone boasts ‘I love God’ and goes right on hating his brother or sister, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? – Christ gave His life for the sinner, not the righteous. If it weren’t for Him first loving us, where would we be?
Now I find myself ‘doing right’ because I love, not because ‘it’s the right thing to do’. Talk about a different kind of life! Rules and regulations cause rebellion to rise up (they’re still needed anyway, because we’re all too selfish to be trusted! – just watch Battlestar Galactica – ha!), but LOVE creates a joy and a sense of honor that is incomparable.
I’m not writing this to just expose myself, but rather in hopes that you too will find yourself in here somewhere. And, to whatever degree needed, seek the Father’s love to be revealed to you. I could never fully express the difference it will make in your relationship to Him and to others.
We must all remember that our shoes aren’t any less stinky than someone else’s. It’s God’s love and grace that save, not our own righteousness.