Continuing in our series on How to Shine, we come to the next way to let our lights shine so that God will be glorified, and that is:
I know what you are thinking. “Wait, how can we shine if we ignore people? How can we serve others if we do not pay any attention to them? How will ignoring do any good at all?”
That’s the catch. We aren’t ignoring people. You can’t serve others if you ignore them. However, ignoring is a very important part of letting your light shine.
You see, instead of ignoring people, what we are doing is ignoring things about those people. Ignoring those preconceived ideas that we might have about them. Ignoring their skin color, their economic status, their education, their height, their weight, or anything else about them that really doesn’t matter.
We are ignoring everything about them except for one fact, that that is that all people are people. Yes, that sounds really basic and simple. It may even sound oversimplified. But it is the truth. When it comes right down to it, there is no difference at all between any of us. We are all the same.
We may have come from different countries. We may have come from different parts of the same city. We may be educated completely differently. We may have more (or maybe less) money than they do. We may have a significant age difference. We may seem not to have anything in common at all. But we all do have one basic need, and that need is Jesus. We all need the salvation from our sins that only he can give through his death on the cross.
The Bible tells us this in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That speaks to all of us. Not just some of us who don’t meet some qualifications. Not just some of us who are better than others of us, because in God’s eyes it doesn’t work that way. All of us have sinned. All of us have fallen short of God’s glory. There are no exceptions, no distinctions, no differences.
However, the next verse, Romans 3:24, gives us the good news: “They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Even though we have all sinned, we can all be justified freely through the blood of Jesus Christ. Just as verse 23 applies to everyone, so does verse 24. Not just a few of us. Not just those with money or education or their lives on the right track. All of us are justified through Jesus.
Once you realize that, you can start to look past what you think you might see in someone. So often our first impression of someone is completely wrong, and yet we have trouble getting past what we might think about that person before we even get to know him. We are quick to judge and categorize someone based on what we see of them in an instant, and if we are not careful we can have difficulty in moving on from that first impression. But if we ignore what we might think we see in that person and withhold our judgement of him, we will eventually see a completely different person.
The apostle Paul even talked about this in Galatians 3:28: “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” While Paul mentioned the biggest dividers of people in that day, we can understand how that can be expanded to anything that would divide us in our current days. Instead of looking down on people who we might consider to be something less than we are, we should remember that we are all the same in the sight of God.
Going back to our previous ways of letting our lights shine, which were to smile and to help others, we can have a much easier time doing these things if we ignore what society tells us we should think about others and instead see them as we see ourselves – people in need of God’s grace. Once we realize that everyone else is just like we are, then it becomes even easier to do nice things for them, to be friendly to them, and especially to share the good news of Jesus with them.
Let your light shine by ignoring the differences of others!