For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Mat 25:35-40)
Why do we feed the hungry and thristy?
Why do we welcome stangers?
Why do we clothe the naked?
Why do we visit the sick or imprisoned?
I think many do because it makes them feel good. Many do it because that's what Jesus did, and we want to be like Jesus.
How many do it because the see Christ in these people? Not many, I would suspect, because for me that is a very difficult thing to do - see Christ in others.
Oh, its easy to see Christ in chidren. Children are gentle like Jesus was. They have an innocence we can associate with Jesus.
Its easy to see Christ in the sick, elderly, poor, and persecuted. Again we can associate the qualities of these people with Jesus. They are underdogs, just like we imagine Jesus to be.
But what about the evil people in the world? How do we see Christ in them? The murderers, rapists, child molesters, abusers? How can we see Jesus behind the the cold blank stare of those eyes?
That is where our challenge lies - to treat all human beings with respect and dignity, regardless if they have earned it.
I meet many bad parents in my line of work. Many people who have beaten, ignored, starved, and sexually abused their children. I try not to judge them. I treat then with respect and dignity. It is a very hard thing to do - to see Jesus in those who persecute those who I do see Jesus in.
But that's what we're called to do. And its nothing compared to what Jesus was called to do.