The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.Søren Kierkegaard
This quote has been on my mind a lot lately as I've come to understand that being a follower of Christ requires a lot. He gave His all for us, and we must give our all for Him. Turning the other cheek is hard. Loving those who harm people is a huge challenge.
Lately, I've been trying to focus on the knowledge that everyone I meet is created in the image of God. One scripture that I keep in the forefront of my mind is in the book of Matthew, chapter 25. I normally focus on verses 31-40. Christ is prophesying His second coming, and He starts out by saying that when He returns, He will divide his followers from those who do not follow Him. His followers are welcomed into His presence because when they cared for the sick and the poor, they were caring for Him. However, I was stung by the rebuke contained in the verses that followed.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels . . . I was . . . in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee . . . in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.Matthew 25:41-45 (emphasis added)
I've never had a problem with feeding and clothing the poor or visiting the sick and lonely. But I have been negligent in the command to visit those in prison. I always considered those in prison to be somebody else's problem. Out of sight, out of mind, plus, they deserve to be there - they're criminals.