Sitting at the window of an Italian restaurant in Stockholm watching people stream by into and through the old city can be an interesting of guessing where they are from. The best part, for me, in the game is when someone says that they are a tourist is questioning them on their rationale. Which country? What brings you to that conclusion? Is there any more evidence that makes you sure?
Some were extremely obvious. The American walking the a jacket worn on the way an American would wear it, with shoes that only Americans wear, as well as a walk that screamed USA, a wife that complimented our earlier conclusion, and a voice that dictated our conclusion. His was obvious. Others were far more difficult. It was almost as if they were street-wise to the world, looking to blend in, trusting everyone yet trusting no one.
As the table next to us left Cherry pointed out that we had been part of their entertainment for the evening. Evidently the way we spoke, the conversations, and even the jokes provided mirth for their evening supper. I didn’t mind but I didn’t think we were that obvious!
Wearing labels is something that we do far more readily and easily than we realize. Trusting in others follows suit, usually based on externals that may have nothing to do with whatever is going on inside the head and the heart. People across the ages have reached conclusions based on externals.
“During the time he was in Jerusalem, those days of the Passover Feast, many people noticed the signs he was displaying and, seeing they pointed straight to God, entrusted their lives to him. But Jesus didn't entrust his life to them. He knew them inside and out, knew how untrustworthy they were. He didn't need any help in seeing right through them.” (John 2.23-25)
Yet knowing that there was more didn’t change Jesus’ actions nor should it change ours. Being streetwise is a great idea – remember though – compassion and mercy can be an integral part of this, our wisdom.