Get ready, because I’m about to share something pretty ugly about myself...
The other day on my way to church (of all places).I was in a hurry and very focused on getting where I needed to go.
In front of me, there was this car that was driving at least twenty under, I swear! I’m an impatient person as it is, so if you put me in a car, as the driver, behind a slow person...let’s just say it brings out the worst in me.
I’ve been trying to learn patience so I started calming myself down, telling myself that he was going the speed limit and I was on time, so there was no need to pass him.
As we’re driving, I see up ahead that we’re coming to a merge.
The thought of being stuck behind this car with no way of getting around it quickly switched me back to impatient mode, so I traded lanes, got ahead, and merged in front of him.
As I glanced in my rear-view mirror, I saw something that sent a shot of guilt down the back of my spine.
I glanced back to see that the slow car was driven by a cute little old couple laughing and talking—the older gentlemen stepped on the breaks to go 30 miles under instead of 20 as he merged, and as he did so, several other cars tried to speed up and pass him in order to merge before he could.
As this is happening, a huge truck placed itself in the middle of the two lanes so that no one could pass the elderly couple.
Obviously, I have no idea what the intentions of this truck was...maybe he just didn’t want to be passed himself, but the picture that this scene presented for me was a good reminder.
This car didn’t try to go around the grandpa car. It instead placed itself in the path of those trying to pass him, so that the couple could go first.
This, obviously, all happened in a heartbeat, I swear I was keeping my eyes on the road, but as I watched this go down, I passed a sign from my church…
Members of our congregation have been putting lawn signs out in our yards that read one simple, yet powerful, statement…
Love Everyone, Always.
This statement has changed so much for me. As I passed that sign, I remembered that I also have a bumper sticker on my car that says the same thing.
Darn! Way to display the love of God, Christy!
As I drove on that single-lane road for the next 20 minutes or so, I kept glancing back at the couple behind me…
Talk about a slap in the face…
I talked a little with God about this moment, and as soon as I got to church, jotted down this reminder:
We are called to protect the innocent, and defend those who cannot defend themselves.
You’re probably thinking, Dang, girl you got all that from one experience!?
Great point. Let me explain…
One of the first days I was in Haiti, we visited a marketplace. It is hands down the most crowded place I have ever been. You walk through the streets, sticky skin against sticky skin, as little kids - complete strangers - grab your hand as you pass by.
So. Many. People.
Yelling for us “blancs” to come buy their products...and so many little kids, guys. Grabbing our hands simply out of the prospect of….money? Friendship? Hope?
It was the first time I had seen true poverty and all of a sudden, the shoes on my feet became the biggest blessing in my life as perspective flooded my brain.
Bumpy roads, rocky ground, and yet so many bare feet…
As we walked down the street, I gathered at least three little hands on either of mine, each child holding onto at least one of my fingers.
And as we past by vendor after vendor, we came to a place where a woman and a child were selling coal. A tall woman with a colorful apron was yelling at this little boy and waving her hands in his face. I was alarmed, finding myself far from my mom and our guide who were up ahead.
I looked down at my new collection of little kids holding my hands, only to see that they weren’t even paying attention to this little boy being ferociously yelled at. This was an every day, completely normal sight for them.
I glanced at the boy being screamed at to see his face, and a wash of complete grief came rushing over my whole body...so powerful, that I took a physical step back, and then quickly walked after my mom.
The little boy, probably no older than nine or ten had special needs - down syndrome, actually.
He had tears in his eyes, snot running down his face...no shirt...no shoes…
I was thirteen when I saw this, and it really was my first experience with this kind of brokenness, but I still wish I would have done something...I don’t know what my thirteen-year-old self could have possibly done, but I will never ever forget the look on that beautiful little boy’s face.
That night I journaled about this little boy and I had no words. I laid in bed for a while, thinking over and over in my mind, why somebody would treat such an innocent child like that.
While this experience still holds some kind of ache in it for me, I am grateful for this scene that still lingers in my mind.
I think God tore down some of my heart that day for a reason. It made me sensitive to those in need, those who are vulnerable, those who need to be protected, defended and given a voice.
Lately, however, I think my busy schedule has stolen some of that from me - rushing me here and there so that I don’t have time to stop and notice those in need.
When I saw that truck pull in front of the little grandpa car to protect them from other anxious drivers like myself, something snapped in me and the face of this little boy popped into my head.
Love Everyone, Always.
Doesn’t this mean we need to offer protection to those who need it? Doesn’t love everyone always, mean that we must return justice and hope and light to those whose voices have been stripped from them?
Loving everyone always means that we must be prepared to thrust ourselves between the vulnerable and those who seek power - to protect.
Jesus was the ultimate protector. He threw Himself between us and the very jaws of death.
Right now we are entering the season of Easter so this week I read the story of the Triumphal Entry - yet another of Jesus humble displays of quiet love and peace.
In Zechariah 9:9, this humble entry is foretold, “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
Jesus was gentle. He was slow and quiet and humble. He made Himself nothing, and threw Himself directly in our path so that we may avoid destruction and spend eternity with Him.
Should we not make ourselves just as gentle?
Should we not make ourselves low so that we don’t overlook those who need Jesus?
If Jesus can do this, then surely we must.
After all He is the king...and he road a donkey. He took the humble road all. The. Time.
Over and over and over again, and it puts me to shame.
Who do I think I am? If God Himself can slow down in order to keep pace with me, then surely, surely, I must slow down to be with those who are in need.
Jesus...so humble, my mind cannot even fathom….Jesus,
Who, being in very nature God, did
Not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the
Very nature of a servant, and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-9).
How beautiful is that!? As I hear those words, they tear me apart and force me to my knees. They stare me in the face and remind me that I am lower than my God, who made Himself the lowest.
Love everyone, always.
Jesus is love - the perfect picture of love - therefore my calling is clear, I must display Christ to everyone always. We must.
We have a responsibility to do so and we must learn to do it well, with humility.
And as we learn God is ever gracious, continuing to show us the perfect display of what we need to learn to be.
Let’s not forget our duty to those in need. Let’s work at being more like Jesus - not forgetting those who are sick, burdened, and in need, but joining hands with them for the sake of glorifying our humble, powerful, loving, gentle Father.