People are Strange

God creates all in His image; therefore, all are worthy of our respect and love.

In 1967, after releasing the album that thrusted them into the limelight, The Doors frontman, Jim Morrison, and the guitarist, Robby Krieger, went on a hike at Robby’s request. The band had started to see Jim falling apart and struggling with depression, so Robby thought a walk and talk would cheer him up. Their trip ended at Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles, and as they gazed at the sunset, Jim penned the words to their next popular song, People are Strange. On a piece of paper he let the words from his heart flow:

People are strange 
When you're a stranger
Faces look ugly 
When you're alone

Women seem wicked
When you're unwanted
Streets are uneven 
When you're down

When you're strange
Faces come out of the rain
When You're strange
No one remembers your name
When you're strange

People are Strange was a song about alienation, something that resonated with many people. It became the number one song in Canada and reached number 12 on the US Billboard top 100 list. Jim Morrison felt that he was looked down upon by those around him because he was different and therefore felt isolated, misunderstood, and alone. Not much has changed in our culture; we still tend to poke fun of, insult, ostracize and ridicule those that do not fit into our conformability mold. 

I recently saw a picture of a tattooed and pierced young man shared on social media with comments like, “this is what Hellbound looks like,” “no wonder our country is going down,” “caption this,” and “his nose looks like a pig I saw on the farm.” Many people laughed and made fun of someone they didn’t even know, just based on his appearance without considering his story. My heart hurt to see such misguided behavior because I do know part of his story.

According to Genesis 1:27, all of us were created in God’s image and likeness; therefore, all deserve our respect and love. What do I see when I look at someone being passed around on Facebook as a target for the brunt of jokes? I see a man designed and created by God, and that has a need to be accepted and approved by God, a message that Christians have been charged to bring, in love and through grace, to all people. I wonder what God thinks when instead of reaching out in love to this man, we drive him far away from the cross through our ridicule. I wonder what God thinks when we take someone that He made and use them to elicit a laugh to satisfy our insecurities? 

The Apostle Paul said to, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Eph. 4:29, ESV).

At the age of 27, Jim Morrison was found in a bathtub dead. Apparently, his heart couldn’t take the massive amounts of heroin that flowed through his veins. As I have with many others, I have often wondered if there would have been people around him to share the love above him if things would have ended differently for Jim. Looking at the picture above, perhaps it would do us all well to recognize that we all have some influence and accountability over others’ direction. Even Cain was charged by God to be his brother’s keeper (Gen. 4:8-10), how can we expect God to hold us to a lesser standard than a standard of love?

Scripture: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love.” -I John 4:7-8, ESV

Question: Am I willing to start viewing people through the lens of God’s love?

Prayer: Father, I struggle when I see people that are so much unlike me, it is difficult to not ridicule or judge, especially when their appearance is so extreme. Please help me to see everyone the way you do. I don’t want to be another reason someone has for not falling in love with you. Please give me the spiritual eyes to see your creation and the strength to reach out in Christian love to offer acceptance and approval through your Son. Thank you for loving me, even though I was not worthy and remain far from perfect. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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