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 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.
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