About a year ago, I posed this question to myself: "What if...?" Then I began filling in the blank. I am still asking the question and have found endless scenarios with which to complete the question. Here are just a few.
What if I was hungry? What if I was thirsty? What if I was a stranger? What if I was naked? What if I was sick? What if I was in prison?
What if I was any of what is described in I Corinthinans 6:9-10—What if I was immoral? What if I was an idolater? What if I was a thief? What if I was greedy? What if I was a drunkard?
There are many among us who are some of these very things and even worse. It must feel hopeless to live under any of these plights.
I think we tend to forget, at one time, if not still, all of us were some of these. I Corinthians 6:11 says, "And such were some of you...," (ESV). But if we read the rest of this verse we might find ourselves remembering God's graciousness to us.
Though I haven't lived to the extent of many of these extremes, I've had my own share of shame. I haven't lived a rosey life, nor have I always made the right choices. Who knows where or who I would be without God's sufficient grace. It is only because of Him that I have any hope at all.
Throughout His teaching Jesus described His expectations of those who desire to live in His kingdom. One expectation is found in Matthew 25:35-36 where He said, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me," (ESV). In verse 40, when asked when He was any of these, Jesus said, "...as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me," (ESV).
Jesus continued in Matthew 25:42-43 and said, "For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me." When asked again when He was any of these, He said in verse 45, "...as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me," (ESV).
Jesus made His expectations clear. Love Him and love others. He made it obvious that our love for Him is directly related to how we show our love towards others.
The truth is we are all one of the least whether we believe ourselves to be or not. Most often we behave towards others as if we've never needed God ourselves. But we have needed Him desperately; we still need Him desperately. And He has been and always is abundantly and sufficiently gracious. So shame on us for not offering grace to others. And shame on us for not loving as God has loved.
Here are a few more of my questions. What if we fed the hungry, offered drink to the thirsty, gave refuge to the stranger, covered the naked, comforted the sick, and befriended the prisoner? What if we did to others as we would want them to do to us? What if we loved the least the same way He loves us? What if we offered Jesus?
What if we made it our life's goal to fulfill the first and second commandment—what if we loved God and loved others? I think if we did the world would be a better place. More importantly, I think God would be pleased.
Here is my latest question. What if I was the enemy?