“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NIV)
When I read through these verses a couple weeks ago, one phrase resonated with me: despised things. “Despised things” in this verse refers to the things this world despises but God uses for His glory.
The Lord immediately pointed out to me that there was a particular person in my life that I was looking down on or “despising”. He told me that He loves that person, and I should love them too. I felt ashamed but knew I did not need to dwell on my shame because there was something I could do about it and that was being obedient to the Lord and loving and changing how I perceived that person. I felt sorry for this person most times and thought I was better than them. The Lord was gently telling me, “Eileen! I love that person and I do not see anything undesirable about them! They are beautiful and worthy of complete love in my eyes.”
As I continued to think through this passage and about what God was showing me through it, several adjectives popped into my head that I have used to label people I judged and thought I was better than at one point or another in my life:
I cringe when I expose my sin. It is not pretty at all and there is risk of judgment from others. The irony of it is I have been most if not all of those things. The Apostle Paul reminds believers of this in verse 27, “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.” Who am I to judge or look down upon? I know acknowledging who I have been cold to, treated badly, or looked down upon brings to light the true condition of my heart and gives me a reflective opportunity to truly love these people in my life as God loves them: unconditionally.
As you skim the adjectives listed, what people in your life have you looked down upon, thought you were better than or “despised”? Alternatively, what people in your life have you noticed are neglected by this world not necessarily by you and need to be loved? Who are the despised people in your life today?
Jesus treasures the weak, the lowly and the despised people of this world of which I am not exempt and is teaching me to do the same.