My wife, Cindy is a talented artist, whose style encompasses broad, intentionally placed brush strokes, but the same broad brush strokes that lend beauty to her paintings, can catch too many innocents in our strokes of discontent, when we paint with too wide of a brush in our daily discourse with one another.
We often tend to paint a cohort of some group with a broad brush stroke that covers the whole group – victimizing the innocents.
For example, when we paint all immigrants with the same broad stroke, we victimize innocent refugees, as with the following quote that emphasizes nationalism over concern for the innocent:
“The America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted [imposed] on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like … this is related to both illegal and legal immigration.” – Laura Ingraham
As antithetical the above statement is to the Christian ethic, it is disturbing to see professing Christians rallying around the same sentiment. Now compare the statement above, with the following scriptures:
When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. (Leviticus 19:33-34) or,
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:18-19) or,
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 25:25-36)
Do we not also tend to paint the poor (welfare recipients), and disadvantaged as somehow responsible for their own circumstances, catching innocents in our brush stroke?
Maybe we need to focus on receiving all of humanity as though they were Christ himself, and include Christ on our palette – letting him guide our brush strokes on the canvas of life.