Monday, September 24, 2018

A New Perspective on Ugly Sweaters

Has anyone actually purchased this sweater? And if so, why!!

I am not stylish. I will never be named “best dressed” minister. I do not enjoy clothes shopping. Yet, even though shopping is a task, there are occasions when I do need to pick up an item or two and even though I don’t have an eye for what’s fashionable I can sense when something is absolutely garish. There seem to be some items that make you wonder how they ever ended up in a store. Some things are just so ugly you wonder if anybody has actually bought them.
That recently happened to me but then I looked at the situation from a different point of view. Since it is in a store, whoever buys for the store must have looked at that item and thought, “Wow, that’s very fashionable. I bet we could sell this in my store.” And going beyond that, whoever designs clothes must have sat down at their clothes-designing table (or wherever clothes are designed) and conceived that article of clothing and thought, “Wow, I’ve done a great job on this. It is beautiful. I am going to turn my concept into an actual article of clothing. I’m sure this article of clothing will be a big seller.”
I began to realize that even though it does not appeal to me, it does appeal to someone. The article of clothing that I consider appalling was someone else’s well-thought-out idea – an idea that they loved and cherished. That would go for clothes, cars, art, and just about everything – perhaps even people.
Let’s all be honest, there are some people who don’t appeal to us. I know it’s wrong, but it happens. There are people that just don’t sit right with us. It may be the way they look, the way they talk, they way they smell – there are any number of factors that might elicit in me a similar response that I had to that garish piece of clothing. “How could anyone love this person?” I might conclude.
Maybe I need to look at people from a different perspective.
Assuming you believe that God has created every person and since that person is on planet earth, He must have thought it was a good idea.  God must have sat down at his people-designing table (or wherever people are designed) and thought, “Wow. I’ve done a great job. I’m going to turn this idea into an actual person. I’m sure this person will be loved by everyone just like I love them.”
That doesn’t mean that I have to like every shirt. But what does it mean that every person who has ever lived is a uniquely designed creation of the good and perfect God? What does it mean that God has created each person in His image, the ones you like and the ones you don’t like?
That co-worker down the hallway. The neighbor down the street. The cashier at the store. The senator in Washington. The boss. And the list goes on. When God created them he said, “Wow. I’ve done a great job. I’m going turn this idea into an actual person.”
Maybe when we start seeing every person as designed and loved by God then we might be able to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves.”