Have you ever had an awkward moment that makes you think, why me, AGAIN? How about having a random stinky, old man kiss you? It’s happened to me twice, once several years ago and again a few weeks ago.
Both times I went out of my way to show kindness to someone I deemed as “needy.” I must have touched these people’s hearts because of their response, but honestly the unexpected pecks on the cheek made me feel the need to bathe in rubbing alcohol, or maybe bleach. I still get the hibigeebies when I think about it.
I have to admit my “random acts of kindness” resulted in feelings of disgust, humiliation, embarrassment and shame. How could my desire to be Christ-like bring out so much pride in me? Other people give their lives to missions and serving the less fortunate. When I try to do something simple, I feel inadequate and ill-equipped to selflessly love people.
I remember a story about Mother Teresa that made an impression on me. In the 1950s she opened a home for the dying. She brought in many dying people off the streets of India. She found one man in a gutter, brought him to her hospice, bathed, clothed and fed him. She held him as he died and he said, “I have lived like an animal, but now I am dying like an angel.”
Along with Mother Teresa I think of Princess Diana. I’ve seen so many pictures of both of them loving people that I would have be uncomfortable to show affection to… I wonder if Mother Teresa ever felt the way I did when the homeless man kissed me—uncomfortable? But she remained full of grace, and moved on to their next act of service.
The day I showed kindness to the homeless man that kissed my cheek, I ended up buying my sister’s lunch. She wasn’t homeless, destitute, or dying, but she was hungry. I fed a hungry person. She wasn’t someone I was embarrassed to be with, or someone that made me feel gross. She was someone I loved—not because I was “going out of my way to be a saint,” but because God put her in my life to love.
Who has God put in your life to love today? “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (KJV)
Maybe loving people is not just about going out of my way to help those in need. Maybe it’s about loving the people that are in my life daily, instead of just when I’m trying to be a saint.