Day 4: Brandon’s Take

Today we hear from Brandon Hatmaker again with more on his perspective of Interrupted.

How many of us have done this before?

As we approached, my mind began to recall our Interrupted story and how just a few years ago I would have instantly judged the young men – wondering what they did wrong, assuming they were too lazy to hold a job, and possibly speculating what liquor they would have bought with the money they collected for the day. (Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker – pg xxvi)

We’ve all been there. That moment where we are presented with a real person, a need that may or may not be legit, and a decision to make in a split second. Will we help or walk away?

I most often do this when I pull up to someone on the corner with a sign. This is hard for me. I fight thoughts about wondering if they really are in need. I worry about my own safety for reaching out when I’m alone. I fight the reality of the person on the corner with a sign so hard that I seriously turn my head and do everything I can to not make eye contact. I purposefully ignore them.

I’m embarrassed.

I want to feel compassion. I don’t want to turn away and go on about my day and pretend like they don’t exist.

Yes, there are people that take advantage of others. But, what about the ones that don’t? What if it were me?

I don’t have the answers or solutions. But, I do know that my heart needs to be in a different place than it has been for so long.

As he knelt down and extended a cup to each of them, he stared right into their eyes…and they smiled. He asked their names and about their stories. In broken English they did the best they could to explain. But it didn’t matter what was said; what mattered was that someone was extending something more to them than loose change or even a cup of coffee. They were being extended dignity. They were being told that they mattered enough for a thoughtful return. And that they were worth the time to just sit and enjoy their company. (Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker – pg xxvi)

Extending dignity doesn’t require us to be rich. Extending dignity doesn’t require special skills. Extending dignity requires us to pay attention, listen to the following of the Holy Spirit and to act.

That will look different for all of us. And it could look different every single day.

It could be praying with that couple that says over and over, “We’ve just given up.”

Or it could be helping out that cashier across the counter that you don’t even know. And for whatever reason she shared her story about being a student that is working full time and can’t figure out how to make ends meet.

Or it could be lending an ear to that co-worker that gets on your ever lasting nerve. Really.

Maybe it’s not just serving at the homeless shelter, but sitting down and breaking bread and asking about their story. We all have a story. Do we really care? Or do we just want to do our civic duty and go home to our warm cozy bed and pantry full of food that we will probably throw out because it expired before we got around to using it?

We have this choice every single day. The opportunities are in front of us. Do we see them?

Go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Matthew 9:13

Jesus, please teach me. I’m afraid I have a lot to learn.

What do you struggle with when these types of opportunities come your way? Have you learned anything that you could share to encourage others in our group? I’m all ears.

~Starr

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13 thoughts on “Day 4: Brandon’s Take

  1. I struggle with the same thing at the stop lights, I ignore them the best I can! I do have a passion to help people and I have bought groceries for someone in need many times, but I believe there is more, my prayer is that I can be more bold and share Jesus through my actions.

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  2. I’ve been that person in need. And I’ve been the one to offer groceries or water.

    It’s hard to know the right thing to do regarding the people on the street corners. There is evil in this world. Do I put myself in harms way to help? Do I risk it? All I know is that we need to listen for the still small voice. And the guidance He promised.

    For me it is much more personal. My daughter and her family are struggling to make ends meet. She’s asking me to pay a bill or two. Can I afford to? Maybe. But I’m not sure I should. It’s tough. My flesh wants to say he should do more. But I don’t want to see them not be able to pay for daycare. I’ve got to pray about it.

    Sorry too much sharing.

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    1. Keep praying about it. Ask for God to give you wisdom. Sometimes the answer is not for you to jump in to help as much as you want to. I will help pray for this situation. As a mom I can only imagine how hard this is. But you are doung the right thing by praying and asking God to give answers.

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    2. Melissa L – not too much sharing at all. This is our place to have these conversations. The struggle is real and there is value in the struggle. These are absolutely tough issues and you aren’t alone. I will be praying that God gives you wisdom in the decisions with your daughter. You have backup in those prayers, friend. I’m listening for that still small voice too. He is so faithful!

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  3. I struggle with this area too. Wondering about my safety and if they are for real in need for food or things they don’t need. God please help me to show compassion and mercy and to be led by your spirit.

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  4. I want to do more for people in need. I have been on the receiving end many times and I want to give back. Financially we are not able, but I want to do better with my money so God can use me. I want to pray for my attitude along the way, honestly, I see some and its hard not to think that some of them may be making more money than me standing on the side of the street, or why did they make poor decisions? But as God reminds me that is between them and God. I am only to do my part and be obedient and listen to his spirit when he says help!

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  5. I will be praying for all your needs, along with praying for God to move me to an uncomfortable place where I can help others more than ever. My most precious commodity right now is time. I need for God to intervene to help me make better decisions on how to use my time for others.

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