I hope I’m not exposing myself here, but sometimes I like to daydream about what it will be like to meet my future husband.
The most common imagined location for our first meeting is church, but sometimes it’s something random, like a library, the grocery store, or while volunteering. Maybe he bumps into me, or he notices me across the room and comes up to say hi. But no matter the exact scenario, one element is key – he’s immediately attracted to me.
Because duh, right? Why else would he give me the time of day? Physical attraction is key in just about every love story.
But what about love stories from the Bible? Ruth 2 is the beginning of such a love story, a Biblical meet-cute between Ruth and Boaz.
So? Was it love at first sight?
When two people fall in respect
The story begins almost like a cheesy Hallmark movie.
Ruth has moved to a brand new town. It’s harvest season, so she sets out for an honest day of work picking up leftovers from the grain fields. It was a thing back then, and a great way to put food on the table.
Boaz, a land owner, arrives home from a journey and decides to take a look at his grain fields. He greets his harvesters warmly. Then he turns, and lays his eyes on Ruth for the first time.
“Who is she?” he asks one of his workers. They explain that she stuck beside her mother-in-law Naomi after the death of both of their husbands.
Eyes locked on Ruth, Boaz walks over to her. The music swells. Is he stunned by her beauty? Is he about to make a move? Is Ruth’s life about to change forever?
He offers her a job.
No romance, no suggestiveness. He encourages her to keep gleaning in his field, and to get a drink whenever she’s thirsty. Then he tells her that he’s heard her story. He commends her. He wishes God’s blessing on her. And then he lets her keep working.
If a rom-com started out this way, we’d be bored. What is this? Where’s the flavor? Nothing is happening!
But something did happen. Boaz was kind to Ruth. He didn’t see her as an object or a conquest. He treated her like a person. He treated her with respect. He admired her work ethic and her loyalty to her mother-in-law. And that was it.
Isn’t that amazing? In a world where everyone wants something from someone, where women are constantly objectified and sexualized, where it’s easiest to ignore people and focus on your own life, this story is a breath of fresh air – and an example worth following.
“I want you to treat your brothers and sisters with kindness and respect.”
This story is not a tutorial in how to catch a girlfriend or a boyfriend. This story shows how followers of God should treat each other.
We, especially those of us who are Christians, are so quick to judge others. We make assumptions about why they did that sin. We tsk-tsk at people who don’t believe what we do. We compare ourselves to others and feel smug when we come out on top.
But everyone, even those who are foreigners and strangers to us, has a story. Everyone has had some struggle. Everyone has the same basic needs and desires.
When we look at others, instead of seeing “unbeliever” or “immodest” or “conservative” or “uneducated”, we can choose to see “person”, “child of God”, “someone like me”.
After all, that’s how God sees us. His children, His people. Worthy of love, worthy of respect.
What do you think? How can you improve how you treat and see people?