As we spend time on the streets and get to know more and more people, we see how frequently our friends have been dehumanized by our world. We see how they are treated like a group that causes problems for the city, or makes the city less desirable; we see how they are treated as second class citizens. This breaks my heart. How can this change? How can we create a society and world where all people are valued and seen as important?
Well, start with you. Start by treating all people like people. Realize the humanity and the life that is present in every human you meet–from the homeless teen, to the rich businessman, to the elderly person in the nursing home, to yourself. Christ died for all of them.
As we live with this mindset, our sphere of influence will be impacted. We must use our existing connections to impact the world now. We can’t wait until we have a large stage, because if we wait until then we won’t know how to use it if we ever do get it.
Gustavo Gutiérrez was a theologian and priest from Peru that worked among the poor there. He says the poor “are found in the statistics, but they do not appear there with their own names…they are insignificant in society, but not before God.” (Preferential Option for the Poor, 1968)
God’s mission is to restore all people–all creation– back to Himself. This must come into play with how we engage the world. If we are to be about the things God is about, we must be about restoring the entire world back to God.
So, what things don’t belong? What things do?
People living in poverty and oppression is not what God desires. So, we must respond. We must journey with those who have been pushed to the side. We must journey on the road of restoration. It’s a long road, but a road that is well worth it.
What does belong? Community. Love. Reconciliation between people groups. All people being viewed as valuable creations of God that show the image of God simply in who they are.
So as we step out on this journey of embracing the mission of God and being active participants in God’s restoration of the world Step 1 is to treat people like people that are dearly loved and reflect the God of the universe. Step 2: repeat step one.