When you see people, what do you see? When you go out on the town, to the grocery store or the mall – any place where there are crowds of people what comes to mind?
After a thanksgiving together with my family, I got up early on Friday and went to Wal-Mart at a little before 5AM. It was “black Friday” and my wife had already scouted the adds and had a list of things she wanted me to purchase. Since I also had my own list, I willingly succumbed to her prodding to get up long before sunrise to hit the stores to find the bargains.
As I pulled into the Super Wal-Mart parking lot at 4:30 in the morning there were only about three parking spaces left. In the store the isles where completely blocked with hoards of people. I guessed about well over 1,000. In the middle of the isles where these crates stacked with merchandize and then wrapped with black plastic. A worker in a blue vest guarded each stack waiting for 5 o’clock when the horn would blow indicating that they could unwrap the stack for people could purchase the items. Every isle was jammed full of people lined up in front of each crate. People pushing and shoving trying to be the first one to get their prize. I found the line behind the stack of the item I was looking for (a GPS) and so I put myself into position to wait for the horn.
My first reaction as I observed the people was that of annoyance. “What a greedy materialistic society we live in,” I thought. “Here are all of these people many of whom will not darken the door of a church on a Sunday morning because it is ‘too early’; yet they get up at red-eye hours after a holiday just to save ten bucks on a Christmas present they are probably buying for themselves!” I was completely perturbed with growing frustration each time someone bumped into me to get further ahead in line.
Then it hit me, “I am one of those people!” I was one who was greedily getting up early just to save ten dollars on something that I wanted for myself. Immediately, I asked God to change my thoughts and to view the crowds differently. God began to break my heart and to convict me that I needed to see every person as a soul. A soul that was either going to heaven or hell.
When I first saw people that morning my view of them was that of annoying greedy shoppers that were in my way. My thoughts were far from where they needed to be.
What I needed was a change of perspective.
When you see people what do you see? More specifically, what comes to your mind when you see Hispanics?