Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Loving Others

Today my mom said she's never been more proud of me. Her words, "not even when you graduated from high school." While this, of course, is a huge compliment (not that "graduating from high school" was necessarily difficult or all that unusual), and I am so glad to make her proud, what I did was not that special. In fact, I'm almost ashamed I haven't done it more. More than almost, I am ashamed. We stopped by Wal-greens after dinner to grab a Red Box movie for a little family movie night. And there was a homeless man sitting on a bench. We pulled up right in front of him, looked right at him. My sister jumped out, ran over to pick out a movie, not even seeing the man. My mom and I couldn't avoid it. Yet after sitting in the car for a minute with her saying, "what should I do?" a few times, we walked right past. We helped Add pick out a movie, and got back in the car. I couldn't believe I was doing this. Ignoring a human. A living, breathing, feeling, created and loved by God, just-like-me, man. I was walking right on by. I couldn't help by think of Under the Overpass, as a I often do. And I couldn't do it. My mom said she'd pay for a sub for him if I got out and asked if he wanted one. I couldn't let us drive away. Really, it wasn't even a decision I had to make. I hopped out, asked the man if he would like a sandwhich, and told him we'd be right back. I went to Firehouse next door, ordered a #1 and took it back to him. There were tears in his eyes when I gave it to him. He thanked me and told me to have a happy Thanksgiving. I told him I'd be praying for him, in fact, I already had. And it was done.
I'm not even sure I would think about it ever again if the conversation that followed hadn't of happened. Not that it was really all that significant, deep, or important, but it did make me realize I am not living daily as I should.
My mom questioned if the man was faking the tears. She wasn't at all saying I shouldn't have done it, but just curious statement. But I wonder, does it even matter? So maybe he mustered up a few fake tears? Does it really matter? No. Not to me. Are we not called to love others anyway? To reach out to the least of these? To help those who need help? To be an example of Christ in everyday life? We are. I am. So I did. And I will.
I'm not posting this to brag on myself or say look what I did, but to really ask why don't we, why don't I, do things like this more? It's easy to talk about it. And say what I would hypothetically do. And in many situations the "right thing to do" IS confusing. The issue of to give or not to give cash to homeless men and women. The issue of safety. There are things, along with others, that are to be questioned. Yet, I think more often than not, rather than answering these questions and moving past them, we let them stand in our way. We use them as excuses. I believe that if we move in the direction Christ would, He will come through. We'll be given answers and protection. As John Ortberg says, "if you want walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat." God can't do anything extraordinary with us if we refuse to take that first step of faith, no matter how small it might be.

"You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you."
- Unknown

"Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice
Romans 12:9-13 The Message

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