At 6am this morning I was sitting in Kings Cross station, gratefully tucking into a cheese, ham and tomato croissant.
I felt a tap on my shoulder and, turning around, was greeted by a man around my age. He explained that he was homeless and hungry, trying to get some money to buy some breakfast.
Immediately, I stood up and asked him what he’d like, but there was a problem. I was sitting in a Pret a Manger, and he wanted McDonald’s breakfast. The closest McDonald’s was outside the station, and he didn’t want me to miss my train.
Not a problem, I explained. I was early for my train, and had just finished my croissant, so was happy to walk with him.
He said he really didn’t want to trouble me, and walked away.
I sat down - on one level disappointed I wasn’t able to help, but on another level pleased - and proud - that I had done the right thing in not giving cash when I didn’t really know how he was going to spend it.
In fact, his walking away clearly proved that he wasn’t that hungry.
He probably wanted that money to buy drugs and mess his life up even more.
And then, after a while, I started to actually think.
This man was my age, and clearly had been homeless for some time - no-one introduces themselves as homeless unless they’ve come to accept that about themselves. He was already putting himself in a vulnerable position by asking members of the public for loose change, and I was offering to shame him further by proudly handing my gleaming credit card to an assistant at McDonald’s.
No wonder he walked away with an excuse – on reflection, I probably would have too.
How often do I judge people based on the way they look, then see all evidence through that judgmental filter?
How often do you?
In front of God, we could all see ourselves as shame-filled sinners, yet he chooses to see us as being clothed with honour, adopted as his children.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to resolve to see others as God sees them, rather than through whatever lens we’ve crafted in our mind.
And this Sunday as we gather, let’s remember the shame that his son Jesus took upon himself for our sake, and the honour in which we’re now clothed. Who can fail to celebrate in wonder at that?!