Once upon a time, a new mother gathered up her sweet children and went down to the local homeless shelter to provide care and love to the communities impoverished residents. No kindness was spared as she walked an old lady across the street in love for the stranger. Whilst doing such a worthy deed, the new baby and the mother's older child were waiting back on the opposite side, patiently awaiting their mothers return. Another woman stood with them, posing as one in need of clothing. Suddenly, baby began to cry! The beautiful sister jumped into motherly action to search out the baby's pacifier to soothe and comfort the wee little babe. The lady in need of clothing posed as a helping hand and began to dig in the mother's purse, ostensibly looking for a pacifier along with the beautiful sister. No matter how the sister objected that the comforting object would never be in such a place, the lady continued digging in another's gold mine. The wretched soul got an extra $20 for her efforts and the mother got a cruel favor returned for her good favor. *
The world is suffering. Many are in need of mercy, forgiveness, help, and clothing. There are starving people who really cannot figure out where the food or light bill money will come from. The above story is a true one. It happened to a friend of mine today as she was working in the cup ministry at our church. It sends a shiver through the soul when you realize that such a person can stand near someone's little baby and scavenge through a mother's purse for some petty cash to steal. We all need the reminder that evil is real. I don't think any of us are prepared to respond to the slap that stings the face in such a moment. You have to remind yourself that the story of mankind is exactly one of God creating beauty, life, and harmony. Consistently, no matter what good and beauty he has offered us, we have spat at Him, mocked Him, and reviled Him with our accusations of, "unfair" or "what about me?"
The ugly truth of my friends circumstance has several opportunities and lessons. First, watch your back and your purse. Second, doing an act of kindness for another does not ensure their returning the same decency. We could get all uppity about it and say, "How dare!" or we can remember many times small or big we had the same attitude. Maybe as a teen you "borrowed" from people and never got around to making it right, or maybe you leave work daily with a pack of "post its," consoling yourself with how the company will never notice. Rest assured, deeds that are done by the money snatcher and each of us will be punished. God offers His forgiveness freely though. The power of this act is transforming. My friend spoke to me and we both agreed that it was a small offense in the big scheme of it all. Prayers for the woman that was bold enough in her darkened heart to not feel the enormity of such an act. Her soul is worth more than twenty measly bucks.
* Some details of the event were altered, but the essentials are quite true.