Years ago, it feels like forever now, I wasn’t the kind person I am now. I was quite opposite. I did unsavoury things for unsavoury people, and I had a reputation of being very self destructive and for being afraid of no one.
People would ask me how I could possibly be so unafraid despite my size and inability to fight. My response was always, “Everybody sleeps.”
This usually confused people at first, but upon realising how sinister of a statement it was I began to get a fiercer reputation. People steered clear of me and tried their hardest not to get on my bad side; I had everyone walking on eggshells.
If you hadn’t realised yet, what I meant by “everybody sleeps” is that at some point during the day, people will be at their most vulnerable. Even the toughest strongest meanest thug has to sleep sometime; and sleep is our most vulnerable state. People began to realise that what I meant was that if anyone upset me, I would go after them in their sleep; and I was dead serious.
I knew better than most that all humans beings were just that, human. We all bleed. We all get hungry. We all sleep. We are all feeble and weak things avoiding death on a daily basis.
Fast forward some years and I met Jesus, not a turn that anyone believed I took (or would take). The people at church didn’t believe my past either. This didn’t really matter regardless because I was changed radically; and several years on I am still the same.
The one thing that changed about me the most was my view of people. I still saw them as weak and vulnerable but they went from enemy to brother. This was one of the greatest lessons I learned from Jesus, loving your enemy. It confuses a lot of people, “Why strengthen your abuser?” It’s not that at all.
On top of now being saved, I work in retail in a bad neighbourhood; and I see them every day.
The drug dealers. The thugs. The thieves. The bikers. The gangsters. The con artists.
Buying milk. Buying bread. Getting a hot chicken for lunch. Sitting because they’re tired. Sweating from the summer heat. Using the restroom.
Weak. Vulnerable. Children.
We’re not called to love them because we deserve their abuse or that we need to prove our humility; we’re called to love them because they deserve the mercy that we recieve from Jesus.