“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. . . . And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:35-36,40,KJV).
When we’re afraid, strangers seem strange. “People are strange when you’re a stranger/ faces look ugly when you’re alone” (“People are Strange” by The Doors). Our fear distorts a stranger’s personality, making him appear more dangerous, more dishonest, more frightening than he really is.
A Dark Lens
The Pharisees sang “People are Strange” when they met Jesus, projecting their negative qualities upon Him, turning Him (in their minds) into a monster rather than a Savior. Jesus’ disciples and the people He healed perceived Jesus more clearly.
That is why Jesus cautions us to accept not only the outer stranger but the stranger within. What parts of our personalities need expression (nourishment)? What parts of us are imprisoned and need to be set free? How are our souls sick and in need of spiritual healing?
The stranger approaches us through a dark mood and asks, “Please include me in your writing.” We say, “Yes” and we immediately feel lighter. We are living Jesus’ words. We are deeply compassionate to the downtrodden: ourselves.
Photo Credit: Photo by Dmitriy Cherevko.