David Musselman, a bishop in the Mormon church, had an idea to teach his congregation a lesson recently. He brought in a disheveled homeless man just to see how they would react to him. The “homeless” man was the bishop himself. He enlisted the aid of a professional make-up artist who did such a good job of making him look down and out that even his own wife and family failed to recognize him!
Last Sunday, in his disguise, he attended the service in his church and was surprised and disappointed to find that many in the congregation did not practice what he had been preaching to them.
“Many actually went out of their way to purposefully ignore me, and they wouldn’t even make eye contact. I’d approach them and say, ‘Happy Thanksgiving.’ Many of them I wouldn’t ask for any food or any kind of money, and their inability to even acknowledge me being there was very surprising.”
It is truly sad that in this country today the reaction experienced by Bishop Musselman is not an isolated incident, many who profess to be Christians do not follow the teachings of the founder of their religion, too often when they ask themselves “what would Jesus do” the answer they give back to themselves is not the answer he would have given them if they asked him what to do.
He taught that we should care for the less fortunate, not avoid them. They forget that he told them, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40). To them an unwashed and unkempt homeless man is someone whose own moral failings are the cause of his condition and he is therefore not worthy of their compassion.
While his reception in general was saddening, what he found most distressing of all was the fact that five members of the church actually went so far as to request that he leave. What happened to the days when churches posted signs outside saying that it doesn’t matter what you are wearing as long as you come?