Are there works of art, styles of art, or artists that you detest? There are times that we actually have visceral responses to art. It could be based on the work itself, connections we make to the work and our own previous knowledge & experiences, or what we know concerning the artist. So many different elements factor into our snap judgments. However, are these negative reactions where we should leave things? Can we find value in a work/style/artist even if our first response was less than favorable. I believe that there is something to be appreciated, valued, and considered no matter our initial reaction. We may even reconsider our opinion once we've spent more time with the work, learning about the style/movement and the impact it had/has on culture, or even gaining insight on the artist and their processes & inspirations.
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of sinner." But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, " Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
So often the snap judgment of believers gets in the way of what God wants to do in the life of those who do not initially seem to fit the "Christian Culture" or who "deserve" God's grace & forgiveness. The response of those in Jericho towards Jesus and his interaction, warmth, and desire to spend time with Zacchaeus is unfortunately emulated in churches today. We have become comfortable with those who look like, talk like, and act like us. We're uncomfortable with those who don't fit in our nice neat little churchy boxes. We see at the close of this section of scripture..."For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." This is echoed in Jesus's interaction with the woman at the well, in God's desire for Jonah to share his love and grace with Nineveh, and numerous other accounts through the Old & New Testament. God desires to reach those who don't "fit" in & let them know how deeply he loves them. Are we allowing any snap judgments to get in the way of God using us to reach out to the world around us? Are more like Jonah and less like Jesus? What could be keeping you & I from seeing others like Jesus did?