Read Luke 5:12-13
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns,a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus,he fell with his face to the ground and begged him,”Lord,if you are willing,you can make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. (NIV)
A man covered with leprosy would not have been a pretty sight. Not only were there ugly and disfiguring sores,but there was the high risk of contagion. Jesus was the sort who didn’t worry about such things: he embraced such people so as to infect them with his wholeness rather than shun them so as to avoid them infecting him with their disease.
In such cases,Jesus looks to what Brennan Manning calls “the story behind the frightened face”. We meet many people who may frighten us or irritate us or puzzle us. We will be tempted to respond to them on the basis of their superficial appearance or actions or words. We make snap judgements and in doing so may harden our hearts against them.
Human beings,including ourselves,are a crazy mixture of sadness and gladness,success and failure,hopes and fears. We can’t be easily categorised or lumped together under the classification of ‘sinner’ or ‘saint’. We remain stubbornly unique.
It is such a challenge to treat each individual we meet in this way. To look to the story behind the frightened face. Much easier to put people in pigeon holes. But pigeon holes are for the birds.