Remember the Samaritan woman? Let’s think back to her story (John 4:4–30, 39–42). She was a sinner and an outcast. She went to the well at a time when no one else was going. All the other ladies had probably gone earlier that day. Maybe other women avoided her. Maybe they felt she was dirty, or they gossiped about her.
Have you ever felt left out? Maybe your guy buddies or girl friends ditched you when you quit drinking. I went to get coffee with some young girls, and there I saw my group of friends. I hadn’t been invited. Oh, that hurt.
This Samaritan woman was most likely left out, yet Jesus—God in the flesh—reached out to her.
Are you like the Samaritan woman? Are you the one who goes out when no one else is around? Maybe you are living in secret sin and are feeling condemned. Perhaps, on the other hand, you are the one who avoids others. As a Christian, maybe you only go out during the daytime, so you’re never around party animals at night.
Whom do you avoid? Whom are you overlooking every day?
The homeless man—to whom you could give a smile and a meal, but don’t.
People with skin color different from yours or people from other cultures—whom you could see as potential brothers or sisters in the family of God and to whom you could offer encouragement.
The sick—you avoid them because of fear that you may catch their disease.
The rich—you avoid them because they intimidate you.
The poor—they may be praying to God for help, but you avoid them because you think they should help themselves.
People who look dirty—you are a germaphobe and think they must not be clean, but what you do not realize is that they may be angels of the Lord.
People who are fit—you avoid them because you struggle with your body image, but maybe they have an eating disorder. You could understand that, but you are too selfish to see the need that’s right in front of you.
People who are overweight—you think they are lazy, and you judge them before you know their hearts. Maybe they have a heart condition and need prayer.
The broken-down car on the side of the highway—you ignore the family of five on the side of the road because you are, once again, late to soccer practice.
The store cashier—the store has twenty-six lanes, but only two were open that day. You waited in line for twenty minutes and lost your cool with the clerk rather than offering her a smile and kind words. What you didn’t know was that she had lost her mom to cancer that month. And you didn’t even see her. You were too busy thinking about you.
The ambulance that passes by you—it may make you late to the bank, and the bank may close before you can make your deposit. Frustrating, I know. But maybe the person in the ambulance will never go home again. You should stop to pray, but you avoid seeing the need.
The man on crutches—he walks slowly and takes up most of the aisle. You can’t even get around him. Can’t he see that you are in a hurry? Why isn’t he moving over? Well, why aren’t you stopping long enough to help him or pray with him? We have the same power that raised Christ from the dead. Maybe your prayer could help him get off of his crutches and up to speed. Everyone wins.
Someone alone at dinner—she keeps looking at you and your spouse on your date night. It’s annoying you. What you don’t know is that this person is in a terrible place in her marriage. She sees you and thinks maybe it is possible for a husband and wife to have that kind of relationship. You could invite her over to share a meal with you, even if it means interrupting your date.
Deep in your heart, you already know who you avoid. You are convicted by it. You see this person and quickly cross over to the other side of the street. It’s the person whose eyes you try not to meet. Ask Father God to give you a heart for the people you want to overlook.