"Jesus asked him, 'What is your name?' 'Legion,' he replied, because many demons had gone into him"
Here was a man who had become a great factor of intimidation and inconvenience to all those who came across him and who knew of him. His appearance was grotesque, his behavior was erratic, and his behavior was that of a barbarian. He had lived chained, guarded, and condemned to live among the dead in the tombs.
Jesus asked him his name. He looked past all that had become of him. He didn't recoil at his look. He didn't cower at the smell. He wasn't shocked by his behavior. He could still see the original heart and the purposed and destined identity that had been designed and created in the image of the Father. Jesus looked past where others just stopped. He didn't judge him. He loved him. He didn't offer him condemnation and rejection. By asking his name, he offered him a dignity that he had long given up on. It was the beginning of a moment that change the rest of his life.
Though it's not always easy, don't give into the intimidation that seems to rise from certain people based on their past, background, current behaviors and lifestyles. Be like Jesus who extended that personal touch by connecting with one's identity. He didn't condone. He loved. He didn't embrace the behavior, but He did embrace the heart. Never forget that we have been saved by Jesus, the same Jesus who looked past the demonic possession of one who had been left to the dead and saw who he really was, the one created in the image of God, is the same Jesus we are called to represent. Don't be quick to judge. Don't be quick to react at the lifestyle choices of others to the point where you distance yourself where the love of Jesus wants to close that gap. Judgement doesn't bring people to repentance and the life-changing power of God. But, love does. It did for me.