Sometimes I’ll look at a dude and instantly judge him — “There’s no hope for that guy in a million years” — and I have to slap myself, because I was that same guy a million years ago.
I think it’s easy for us to throw around labels like “lost cause” and “damaged goods” and “bad for business” because we’re just lazy. It allows us to sit back and judge from a distance. It’s easy to like people who are likable, but really dang hard to get involved with emotionally draining drama queens.
Everyone loves the idea of compassion until it costs them.
I tend to time-stamp someone on how they used to be, because it’s more comfortable for me to presume “at least I’m better than that guy.” It physically bothers me to think this person could change. How could everyone like him now? I want to say things like, “But I know how he really is” and “People don’t change” — but then I’m revoking the very chance I’ve been given.
I’ve seen Christians casually dismiss other Christians down the street, pastors dissing pastors, churches entering into fierce tribalistic nationalism claiming some kind of moral standard above the curve. I’ve been wounded by the venom because I have a past here, and no one has honor in their hometown. Sometimes I desperately plead my side to be heard: but some people have their mind made up about you, and you’re the bad guy no matter what you do.
Really though: We just don’t want to get into the broken mess of other busted people. It’s dirty work. It requires standing out of our chairs, rolling up our sleeves, entangling with slobbery flailing lives, even forgiving them. It is not our nature. It hurts. It costs.
But this is what God did, against all odds: because God sees people as they could be, not as they should be.