By: Matthew Hyatt
Reflection—v. 4 ‘do you think that they were worse offenders…?’
Jesus says, ‘Do you think these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?’ Then he goes through several other examples, asking, ‘Do you think these people were worse than others?’ His answer is ‘no.’ We live in a broken world—but that doesn’t mean that one group of people is inherently evil or worse than anyone else. Just because something bad happens to you or some random circumstances have put you in a bad spot, doesn’t mean that it is your fault—or that you are being punished. This makes me think about when there is a discussion regarding homelessness or poverty, and I hear people say things like ‘Well, they should just get a job or work harder’—as if being homeless is always a person’s fault or choice. I realize there are all sorts of circumstances that can lead to homelessness, but there’s never a decision that means anyone deserves to be without shelter—or that we should have to be okay with it. In fact, a lot my friends who are homeless have jobs. They do work—often really hard. But our society is set up so that moving forward can have such high barriers that even when we do all the right things, we still may not be able to get what we need. To me, Jesus is implying that we are often tempted to look down on or scorn others, especially if we think bad things have happened to them. Really, we should be more compassionate and realize that we are all human beings and that we all need to repent toward this way of seeing the world. Jesus is reminding us that we are all on the same page: we all need to repent—to change our hearts so that we might be full of compassion for one another.
Prayer: God of compassion, change our hearts to be more loving.