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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Loving the Kooky People

Some years ago, a man attended a friend’s church service—dressed in high heels, calling himself a woman’s name, and wearing a dress. The people in the church were shocked, and they shunned him, but he stayed for the whole service. Afterwards, the pastor talked to the visitor for a while and shared a gospel testimony. The man never returned.

We have a small church, and over the years, we’ve had some interesting-looking people come and go. I remember one very nice lady with a flair for colorful dressing. She had a bright pink streak in the front of her white hair and green fingernails. I remember several women who arrived quite immodestly dressed. More than once, a very drunk woman was in our midst. Another woman dressed with Mohawk hair and spiked boots.

Christian author Christy Barritt writes delightful mystery stories. Always, she includes some very quirky types. One of her characters is a campaigning environmentalist, save-the-animals vegetarian. Another has blue hair with a unique take on fashion and jewelry. In her books, the kooky individuals end up having good, common sense.

It’s amazing how that works in real life . . . 
                                                                        and in ministry.

I absolutely love how Jesus dealt with the “different” people, the ones that didn’t exactly fit the respectable or normal-citizen mold. How about these?
  • The hated tax collector, Zacchaeus (Luke 19:2-8)
  • Prostitutes (Luke 7:37-50)
  • Lepers, the outcasts (Luke 17:12-19)
  • The naked, demon-possessed young man (Luke 8:26-36)
  • Crippled (Matthew 11:5)
  • The woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:3-11)
  • Blind (Matthew 9:27-30)
  • The Roman centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13)
  • The Samaritan woman, living with her sixth man (John 4:7-29)
  • Mary Magdalene, with seven demons (Mark 16:9)

What did Jesus do for them? He loved them, touched them, healed them, cast out their demons, and helped them to live for God. He went to their homes to eat. He accepted their praise.

When we see someone who doesn’t exactly fit into our preconceived mold of what is proper and good, how do we treat him? Do we ignore him because he’s not
  • Moral enough,
  • Rich enough,
  • Modest enough,
  • Good-smelling enough,
  • Dressed well enough,
  • Healthy enough,
  • Cleaned up enough?

Do we judge his heart because he’s a little weird on the outside?

A young man worked as a hairdresser in the beauty shop next to our church. Sometimes, his hair would be spiky green, or blue, or white. (You never knew!) He had piercings all over his face and ears. My husband and I would chat with him often, nothing really important, just being friendly. Some time later, my husband and I were in the mall, passing by the food court. This guy was at a table with a group of his friends. We were pleased and surprised that he called out to us and greeted us warmly.

Another young friend is a computer repairman. (Unfortunately, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to use his services.) He had very long hair and wore large hoop earrings in both ears. He’s as nice as can be, courteous, doesn’t treat us like “foreigners”—which we are, after all.

The old saying, “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is true.

It’s also true that kooky people need the Lord.

Just as you need God, they need God.

(And if you think about it, you just might look pretty kooky to them! The Bible says we’re peculiar people, 1 Peter 2:9.)

Jesus looked beyond the nakedness, the leprosy, the blindness, the obvious problems, and He saw hearts. He saw hearts that needed Him.

Do we look for people’s hearts?

Or do we judge harshly because someone doesn’t fit into our preconceived mold?

Do we make friends of people who are way out there, or do we gravitate only to those who are more conservative? Do we treat everyone as equals?

The Bible says, let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3b). When we go out into the highways and hedges to compel them to come in, maybe we’re overlooking the unique people. (from Luke 14:23)

My experience has been that, when you get to know someone, no matter how “strange” he may look on the outside, he becomes a person. When you see a person, you then begin to see his heart. When you see his heart, you see his need, and you can minister the grace of the gospel to him.

Let’s look beyond the surface, see people as they are—sinners in need of the Lord. 

Let's make some friends who stretch us a little.

Let’s remember, too, where we came from. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11). A lot of us were pretty kooky, too.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that,
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).


  1. Great post, Lou Ann. For some years after I got out of college, I was easily startled by those that were way different (odd hair colors and piercings, etc), but God is helping see beyond the outside to the person inside. But many a person who looks just fine (whatever our definition of that is) on the outside is very needy inside as well.

    And we probably all look odd to somebody, LOL!

    1. Thank you, Barbara. I think we do--look odd to somebody. :o)


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