"In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul." (Psalm 94:19)
I believe that the way we treat ourselves is how we end up treating others.
How much inner dialogue do we deal with when approaching and interacting with strangers? Assuming we've grown up and moved on from the rule our parents instilled to "never talk to strangers", what is it that we read from when we see someone for the first time? Is it love? Is it Jesus? Do we look at them through eyes of cautious, if hopeful, loving gregariousness? Reason I ask these questions is because it's so easy to become closed-off and standoffish when we're hurt, that we end up developing a warped inner sense of perception to where the very people God wants to use us to bless, become the people that we ostracize and shun because we sense something about them that's not only not nice, but not correct. You follow me?
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:12)
This verse is so dense with meaning that it's almost pointless to try and sum it up with a few sentences. A better way would be to use it as a prism through which light is refracted every which way. The angle I'm thinking of here, is that of believing the best of someone. Paul said it well when he wrote "let each esteem other better than themselves." (Philippians 2:3b) The implication here is to think of others with high esteem, treating them in a way they may not deserve and surely wouldn't expect. It means endeavoring to see the beauty of God inherent in everyone and treating them with the same love He shows you. And if you've been hurt by a person of a certain character type or even by someone who has a certain physical characteristic, then anyone who even reminds you of said offender is likely to trigger a response (even if you've forgiven and forgotten the offense). Moving forward, an even more nebulous notion or impression might come to us, based on nothing but what we sense, however indistinct. And before I go any further, I'm the biggest advocate I know for relying on one's gut feelings. Don't take this the wrong way, but if you sense something about someone you know to be right and the only thing you know you should do is leave, then do it. I'm not talking about the impressions we get that are concrete and without a doubt God telling us to stay away from certain individuals. I'm talking about a fleeting and amorphous sensing that isn't in line with God's word and also how He'd have us treat the largely normal demographic.
Surely you've done it? I have. I think everyone has at one time or another. I look at someone and make a judgment call based on something I perceive and then look in their eyes or talk to them and am immediately hit between the eyes (my own) with the false judgment that I leveled at them mere moments before. A wasted opportunity to show love. Don't worry though, ask for forgiveness and God is sure to show you His love anew and also give the opportunity to do the same to someone else. It's like a cut that heals. The system closes and the Holy Spirit can flow again.
The way to alleviate and eliminate the "false negatives" (for lack of a better term) is to not only realize God loves us, with all our faults, failings and foibles--and forgives. But also to be willing to see others the same. Don't worry, if there's someone with whom you shouldn't have anything to do, the Holy Spirit will protect and prevent and deter (and detour if need be) us from having anything to do with them. But those in between--the ones who might seem shifty and shiftless but aren't--are the ones that God would use us to encourage into becoming the best versions of themselves. The more we take our silent inner impressions to the Holy Spirit for verification and validation, the more people will God be able to shine His love upon--through us.