Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Dealing with “outsiders”

Sometimes I find myself laughing when I read certain scriptures. One such scripture is Matthew 15:21-28. The Canaanite woman had come to Jesus to plead for mercy on behalf of her sick daughter. For some reason Jesus decided to ignore the lady, and after persistent call by the disciples on Jesus to send her away, Jesus answered her “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”. This isn’t the Jesus we know of who goes about doing good. So what is he up to here, discriminate? No! Jesus was trying some tricks to see how deep is the faith of the woman that He Jesus could heal her daughter as is recorded later in the verse. It was also a life lesson for the disciples. The woman finally got what she wanted after she persisted. I will come back to that persistence, but the behaviour of the disciples got me into thinking.

The disciples had pressured on Jesus that the woman be sent away for disturbance. Of course the disciples knew that the woman wasn’t one of them (i.e. non-Jew), and it is pretty obvious that it was for that reason that they wanted her to be sent away. So just how do we deal with people who are “outsiders”? What is our attitude towards people who are of different nationality, different faith, race, cultures, views? What influences our decision to help? Do we listen to their concerns at all or we just don’t want to know? Are we influenced by race, appearance, views, nationality or we look beyond those things? As always Christ rise above discrimination, and whenever he saw exclusion, he had sought inclusion and this is a challenge for us as followers.

As for the Canaanite woman it was her deep faith that did the trick and saved her daughter. I get two lessons here- faith and patience. To have faith isn’t just simply saying it. The real faith is thinking in your mind, praying and believing in your heart that it will be done. For the lack of faith many have wandered from the truth. How deep is your faith? It’s time to widen your faith.

Many have given up on their Christian life because of lack of patience. Christianity is not a quick fix thing when we can just clap our hands and everything falls in place for us. A lady friend tells me everything she’s had in recent years are things she prayed about several years ago. Don’t storm out yet. Keep believing. Keep trusting. Persistence will surely yield result one day.

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