One of the things God has been teaching me in the last few years is a deeper understanding of what it means to be “Christ-like”. To live and embody His heart, His actions and motivations.
That has caused me to think more about shoes. The old expression of compassion and understanding encourages us to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” This is what Jesus did and its an important, crucial part of our theology. Jesus BECAME man. His name becomes Immanuel, God WITH us. The Bible makes it clear that this identification with us is part of why He can be our Savior.
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.
Jesus doesn’t merely offer salvation and instructions for how we can get to heaven, He comes and lives our situation. He wore our shoes.
As American Christians, we now can get pretty excised about how people live their lives, especially people who’s lives are SO different from us. People from away. And we find it easy to condemn them.
But have we tried to think about what life looks like in their shoes?
When we’ve made trips to the Dominican Republic, we’ve had situations where one of our team has held a baby for a minute only to find that the mother has left. Why would she do such a terrible thing. Obviously someone who is a terrible parent and doesn’t love her child.
Except that its the opposite. Facing poverty, hunger, disease, and no hope for a change of status, these mothers hope beyond hope that this American will take their child and offer them hope, a life.
I can’t imagine giving my child away. Why? Because I am a superior human being? No, but because I have never lived in abject poverty. I have never lived in a country and situation where I have NO options, NO help, and NO real hope. Most all of us sitting comfortably in America can’t fathom not having any way to improve our situation or keep our kids safe.
We have never stood in their shoes, and so we easily and proudly condemn desperate parents and judge them as inferior parents and human beings deserving of blame.
The issues facing our nation today are very complex and there are no easy answers. There are also plenty of people who seek to exploit others.
But before we rush to condemn someone, let’s try on their shoes first and honestly consider what we would do in their shoes.
We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
(1 John 3:16-18)