During the severe cold of the winter of 1994, a reporter, who writes a syndicated column that appears in many of the major newspapers, told a story that deals with a problem that subtly confronts many people. It was about a man whose car got stuck on the ice while he was on his way home from work. The man was white, and the community in which he was stranded was predominately black. It was after dark and the man was frightened. To make matters worse, he ran down his battery. There was no service station in sight. He knocked timidly on the doors of a couple of houses and got no response. While he was trying to decide what to do, a car went by slowly, then stopped; and three young black men got out and started walking toward him. The man felt a rising sense of panic. He thought of running or getting in his car and locking the doors. Just then, one of them said, “Could we help you?” They brought jumper cables and started his car. Then they helped him get it off the ice and back on the main road. He tried to pay them, but they refused and said, “We are sure you would do the same for us.” Then the man told the reporter, “The thing that is bothering me is that I am not at all sure that I would.”
Racism in any form is totally inconsistent with the person and message of Jesus. We expect that of Him, but do we expect the same of ourselves?
Or consider this. We live in a world that sometimes seems saturated with rudeness. Just listen, at your next opportunity, to how people talk to a waitress in a short-order restaurant; or better yet, listen to yourself. This is one of the true measures of a person – not how he or she treats his clients or his business associates, but how he or she treats the waitress who brings him or her a sandwich, or his or her secretary, or his wife, or her husband. Rudeness is one of the surest marks of a small-minded person. We would never expect it of Jesus. Surely, common courtesy is one of the minimal requirements that we ought make of ourselves.
There is a simple hymn, part of which says, “I am satisfied with Jesus. Best of friends of all is He. But the question comes to me, when I think of Calvary, is my Master satisfied with me?” That’s a good question. We have learned to expect the very best of our Lord. Should we expect any less from ourselves?