Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Genesis 29:17
A while back, my wife and I were sitting in church when a couple of guys walked in late. Everyone noticed because they were what you might call rough around the edges. My wife leaned over and asked if I knew them. They look like guys you may know. She didn’t mean it as an insult, and I didn’t take it as one. Rather, it was a compliment. Those are my people. My own addiction has profoundly changed me, having some unexpected consequences. Once, I would have wanted and hoped that my people were the beautiful people. Now though, I spend my days in jail, working with the addicted. As I have struggled, I want to help others who struggle similarly. These are my people and I want to show them the love and truth that God has shown me.
Still, I’m human and as such, I continue to be influenced by selfish, shallow motives. When the beautiful people – the wealthy, successful, powerful, and attractive people – come to clinic, I’m tempted to treat them differently than I treat those poor, down-and-out, hygienically-challenged patients. I should treat everyone the same and I should be motivated by how I can help others. It’s always tempting though, to gravitate towards the beautiful people, favoring them because of how it makes me feel. If I ingratiate myself among them, then perhaps I’m one of them. Most of us can identify with this. We’d all prefer to be wealthy, attractive, and successful. The world is kinder to the beautiful people.
This principle is illustrated in the story of Leah and Rachel. In today’s passage, Jacob met and fell in love with the beautiful Rachel. He wasn’t interested in Leah, Rachel’s sister, presumably because she was unattractive. Leah had to be aware of this and she had to understand that no man wanted her as a wife. In fact, her father had to trick Jacob into marrying her. Leah lived in a cruel world that punished her simply for not being pretty enough.
Christ commanded us to love those around us – not for what they can do for us or how they can make us feel. We’re to treat everyone with dignity, respect, and justice, equally showing all the love and grace that God has shown us. When we treat the beautiful people differently, we indulge in selfish, shallow motives. Christ didn’t love us and die for us because we had it all together. He loved us because we are his people. So we too, must love those he’s put in our path – whether they are beautiful to us or not. These are my people.