A common human paradox is that the more accepting a person is ideologically, the more of an elitist he is, but the bigot tends to be the person who has the heart of gold. I knew a man who would say things that would make Rush Limbaugh blush, but he and his wife shared many friendly and fun meals at their kitchen table with a radically liberal college professor and a Black man. I know another man who is so very cocerned about universal justice. Every morning he wakes up in dismay at all the travesties perpetrated by the United States. But he himself is quite wealthy, and lives in a large house by himself. As far as I know, he has never shared anything with anybody, especially not some ignorant red neck.
Abraham Lincoln was an exception to this. Despite his amazing determination to bring justice to a despised people, Lincoln loved the company of any person of every type with whom he had contact, as that person was willing to accept his friendship. I believe more books have been written about Abraham Lincoln than any other person. To date there have been over 16,000 of his biographies published. And his biographies are read by people of every country. I have a friend who visited Burma and found a biography of Lincoln in a home where he stayed. I am one of Lincoln’s many readers. Like so many others, I am so drawn to Lincoln because of this god-like quality of his.
If I am to have any chance with God, I need Him to be Someone who really likes me, despite what I am. I do not have the qualities that attract. I am short. I’m sort of ugly and sort of old. I walk funny. I'm edgy. I’m an introvert, which means I think a lot about myself.
I get pretty emotional when I read the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman. Like myself, this woman did not have a lot going for her. She was of a despised people. Her personal life was a mess. She was a poor woman in the first century.
But the Lord Jesus talked with her just like she was a real human being. Certain things that He said sunk in, and she believed in Him. She had come to a well to draw water and then she forgot what she was doing and left her water pot because she was so excited to run back to town to tell everybody, “Come see the man who told me all that I ever did.” (I’m sure the people in town already knew everything she had ever done as she had lived a scandalous, and thus interesting, life.)
How did the Lord Jesus react? When His disciples came to bring Him some lunch, He wasn’t hungry. “I have food to eat that you don’t know about,” He told them.
When I am in the middle writing and it’s going well, food is not on my mind. I’m too happy to eat. I’m accomplishing what I really like to accomplish. After talking with this "unattractive" woman, the Lord Jesus was too happy to eat.
I wish I could just hang out with Abraham Lincoln. He loved to talk, so I would just listen and I would let him know by my laughter how much I liked being with him. Would I like to hang out with the Lord Jesus? It sounds scary. He’s the Son of God. I do know that if there’s anyone I’d like to hang out with, it would be someone like Abraham Lincoln who was someone like the Lord Jesus. The idea of life after death does not attract me. I don’t want to live forever. I didn’t need a play of Jean-Paul Sarte to teach me that. But I sure like how the Lord Jesus was so excited about the connection he made with the Samaritan woman. I think it means He would be excited about being with me--just with me, though I can’t understand how that will work with so many others also being His friends.
Regardless, I do like what I see in Jesus, so I’m hopeful. Which is another reason why I am not an atheist.