Open Your Heart
Saleama A. Ruvalcaba
The other day I was at my children’s baseball games. Two of them were playing on different fields while I was running behind the other two. We stopped (or I should say, they finally stopped for a moment) and I took a rest. A young man walked by with what looked like a smashed rat in his hand. Well it was actually a Bearded Dragon Lizard.
Let’s back up for a moment. For the past two weeks we’ve had in our garage or backyard what looks like a Lava Lizard. Since Lava Lizards are mostly in South America, I’m not sure what type of lizard it is. It looks scary, however. It is a decent size, pale, red face, with long hideous looking toes. So when this young man came next to men with his, “Bearded Dragon Lizard”, I walked away. Except my children stayed – as they were interested. He put the lizard on the ground and began to talk about “her”. Her name was Stevie. He allowed the children to pet her. Stevie seemed unfazed by all the attention. My children, even my two-year-old was sitting on the ground petting this lizard. The young man said something very interesting. He said, “This is why I love to have pets like this. People are so afraid of these types of animals based on what they’ve seen on T.V.”
He had a very interesting point. The next day, I heard a lecture on cultural diversity. The lecturer said, “People tend to have prejudices against other people based on their own tiny worldview. It’s after they venture into other parts of the world, those prejudices begin to break”.
Unfortunately these negative perceptions we have against people, will make its way into the Church and into our Christian lives unless we are intentional in our efforts to break them. As a minority, the biggest misconception I had was that all white people secretly dislike minorities. As I grew in my relationship with Jesus Christ, those misconceptions disappeared. Partly because I intentionally allow myself to interact with ALL people. Now it’s not to say people who call themselves Christians or who attend church, do not have prejudices. I have sat in the middle of conversations with people – at church – who have made derogatory statements toward minorities with me sitting right there. And guess what, I have witnessed some of the kindest, most loving behavior by people in the church – from ALL races and ethnicity.
I am pretty sure there are some mean lizards out there. I am also sure there are some mean PEOPLE in the world. It’s a matter of your heart. What are you looking for? Do you see the beauty in nature – or the worst of it? Do you see the beauty in people – or only focused on the people who treated you mean?
Are you willing to open your heart today to the unknown and share the Gospel with someone who needs Jesus Christ? Are you willing to let someone into your heart today? That someone has tried to reach you for a long time.
Can you trust that God has your best interest? The more we let Jesus Christ love us – the more love we are willing to accept and give away to others. You have a choice. When the young man sat next to me with his lizard, I could have kept walking, but instead I turned around to learn more about his lovely pet – and I was the one blessed.
Luke 6:31 “Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.”