Perceptions

So, if we’re really going to make a difference in the lives of those who are trapped in the sex trade, or stuck in a life of prostitution, or who believe they deserve nothing better than the humiliation of a strip club, the first step we must take before we extend a hand of hope or message of love is to look upon those suffering in this world of rape, of abuse, of commodity-over-dignity, of wealth-over-humanity, with a heart full of compassion.

Compassion: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

It was compassion that moved Christ to weep over a straying Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). It was compassion that moved Christ to admonish Judas at the protection of Mary’s dignity (John 12:2-4). It was compassion that lead Christ to heal the thousands brought before him of their physical, emotional, and spiritual afflictions. It was compassion that compelled Christ to leave a heavenly throne for a marred, scarred, and crucified life on Earth.

Compassion is a root of love. Compassion is a partner to justice. Compassion is a prerequisite of mercy. Compassion is the salve through which healing begins to take place. Compassion is the bridge by which we help the hurting encounter the Divine.

If we care to truly reach the lost, to uplift the brokenhearted, to bring hope to the hurting, to see lives transformed through the power of the Gospel, then we must view each and every person as God sees them: as His child. This must be our starting point. If we truly believe that each and every person was tenderly and intimately created in the womb by God’s touch (as is inferred in Psalm 139:13-16) and if we truly believe that every human being bears the image of the Divine (as is proclaimed in Genesis 1:26-27), then this must be the lens through which we view, interact with, and experience every person we encounter. In doing so, I believe the barriers that separate us tumble down.

The heart of the song, “Child of God”, challenges Christians to deal with our perceptions of others and how those perceptions essentially build barriers to extending compassion or developing relationships with those we are called to love. If we are unwilling to see the prostitute as Jesus saw Mary from Magdala, we are going to miss an incredible opportunity–and responsibility–to care for, love, and minister to the very least of these (Matthews 25:31-40).

~Susan

To listen to this song, click this link: Child of God from Music for the Soul.

“Child of God”

I paint on the face, I strap on the heels

Shut down my heart so it won’t have to feel

the hands that don’t know me all over my skin

and the eyes that don’t love me drinking me in

Under this make up I’m black and blue

The petals were crushed before I could bloom

I didn’t choose this

No one ever would

And I’d break these chains if only I could

I’m a child of God

I hide in plain sight

I’m a child of God

Slave to the night

Powerless, broken, abandoned, abused

Do you see a child of God

Or just a prostitute?

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