“Yea, he is altogether lovely.” — Song of Solomon 5:16
… Did you ever find Jesus looking for “deserving poor?” He “healed all that were sick.” — Matthew 8:16
And what grace in His sympathy ! Why did He touch that poor leper? He could have healed him with a word as He did the nobleman’s son. Why, for years the wretch had been an outcast, cut off from kin, dehumanized. He had lost the sense of being a man. It was defilement to approach him. Well, the touch of Jesus made him human again. A Christian woman, laboring among the moral lepers of London, found a poor street girl desperately ill in a bare, cold room. With her own hands she ministered to her, changing her bed linen, procuring medicines, nourishing food, a fire, and making the poor place as bright and cheery as possible. Then she said, “May I pray with you?” “No,” said the girl, “you don’t care for me; you are doing this to get to heaven.” Many days passed, the Christian woman unwearily kind, the sinful girl hard and bitter. At last the Christian said: “My dear, you are nearly well now, and I shall not come again, but as it is my last visit, I want you to let me kiss you,” and the pure lips that had known only prayers and holy words met the lips defiled by oaths and by unholy caresses — and then, my friends, the hard heart broke. That was Christ’s way.
C. I. Scofield, D. D. “THE LOVELINESS OF CHRIST”, The New Life in Christ Jesus
Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, (1843-1921) is the author of a famous bible translation. These words, published in 1915, explicitly chide the idea of a “deserving poor”. I would have imagined it a construct of a more recent conservatism. I love the fact that is prooftext for his claim appears to be simply the word, “all”. The bible doesn’t say that Jesus healed, “those who had worked hard all their lives and repented of any sinful acts that led to disease”, but “all”. Lazy bums, enemies, and saints.
Next is a story of a woman doing charity work among “moral lepers” and there’s the implication that the sick woman is suffering from self-inflicted wounds. There are no memes or tweets telling her “I told you so”, there’s just a discipline of visits across weeks, offering selfless love, in spite of bitter rebukes. That the woman was willing to give her a kiss of agape love completely broke her heart. “That was Christ’s way.” Someone was willing to touch the person who had been dehumanized.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, let us learn and adopt your way. Remind us that while we were still enemies, you died for us. Let us reach out to those who have been dehumanized by their circumstances, abuse by others, or own bad choices. Let us not judge who is worthy of your love. Teach us to pray, sympathize, help where we can, and cast all those suffering on you. AMEN.