[Jesus] went on: "It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution." Mark 7:20-23 (TM)
"You have such a strange mix of friends," a friend once told me. I’m not sure he meant it as a compliment. It was, however, a true assessment. As long as I can remember, I have had relationships with people from diverse walks of life and varying social groups. In high school, I mingled with a plethora of jocks, nerds, burn-outs, band geeks, religious kids, and those strange theatre types. I find that most people are wonderful. The fact that they may be different challenges and intrigues me.
From time-to-time, I get the feeling that certain church friends are uncomfortable with the company I sometimes keep. There is a relational comfort level they seem to maintain. It seems to me that they want to confine their relationships to those acceptable few who comfortably fit into their socio-religious box. It’s easy to limit myself to persons who goes to my church, look like me, believe like me, and generally live in a manner acceptable to my religious comfort zone.
And yet, some who appear to fit in my nice, comfortable, religious box have lives that exemplify the very "pollution" Jesus was talking about. At the same time, I find people who appear to be so uncomfortably different from me who are filled with genuine love, honesty, faith and goodness. I believe I’m a better person for knowing them.
I try not to get hung up on the appearance of the wrapping, but to look at what is inside.