“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
– Hebrews 13:2
Picture this. You’re minding your own business, strolling casually down the street with your thoughts running off to where they always run off to, when all of a sudden you collide with a stranger.
You mutter your apologies, look at him, and see that he is wearing a toga. What a weirdo. That’s basically just a dress for a man, who even does that seriously? You look him in the face, and you see he’s got darkly tanned skin and a big beard. His dark olive colored eyes appraise you as well, and you get the impression that he is thinking the exact same skeptical thing about you. He’s loving, sure, but his quick assessment of you is one of bewilderment.
Thinking of being polite, you introduce yourself. You wait for his reply a moment, and through an accent that’s completely foreign to you, he introduces himself likewise.
“Hello, my name is Paul. You may have heard of me formerly as Saul the zealot of the pharisees, though I am that man no more.”
You stop dead in your tracks. Hold up. Hold up!
Is that the image you have in your head when you think of the apostle Paul? Who is he in your mind’s eye? Chances are, if you were to run into the real apostle Paul today with him being as authentic as you, you’d relegate him to being a weirdo.
The truth is, you’d look every bit as weird to him too.
We have a tendency to march through life, running down our specific routines, hanging out with our specific group of friends, and getting comfortable with what is familiar to us. Anyone who is different than you takes a lot more energy to get to know and get comfortable with, so you usually just avoid them. I’m guilty of it. I’m very confident that you are guilty as well.