I noticed how two of the most significant and beautiful teachings of Jesus he imparted to people whom I would have thought would have been persona non grata - a scribe and a Pharisee (Nicodemus).
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart... You shall love your neighbor as yourself." From Friday's gospel (Mark 12:28 - 34)
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son..." From yesterday's gospel (John 3:14 - 21)
Not all scribes and Pharisees were hypocrites. Jesus could see their hearts and know which ones were and which ones weren't. Intentions were crystal clear to him. So he knew right off, who was asking for the sake of truly understanding him. And he knew who was simply trying to ensnare him.
It is so easy for us to pass judgment on those different from us on the basis of their religious belief, gender preference, political affiliation, among other "labeling" methods. We behave differently towards them once we have 'labelled' them, even without getting to know them better.
Yet, based on these examples, Jesus did not treat people 'lump sum', based simply on labels. He talks to a Samaritan woman. He has dinner with a tax collector. He heals the servant of a centurion. And he tells a scribe "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." Because he sees their hearts, he goes beyond these labels and does not withhold love, compassion or mercy.
Since we do not have His insight into men and their hearts, Jesus instructs us not to 'judge' one another. We should not behave differently, or withhold love or compassion, on the basis of the 'label' we have put on a person: Muslim, transgender, Binay supporter.
I pray that I be granted that heart that sees beyond labels. And that I be forgiven for all the many times that I have failed.
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