“Mercy!” That I hear myself saying over and over again when I see the headlines. Headlines on newspapers or magazines, or watch the news on TV or listen to it on the radio, or read a news tweet that comes across my phone. “Mercy, Lord, Mercy!”
What has happened to us?
I remember enjoying the news! It used to be full of wonderful stories that brought joy to our hearts, encouragement to our souls. Stories that would tell us about people helping other people. Stories of successes. Stories of overcoming great obstacles. Stories of seemingly overwhelming circumstances turning around into glorious victories.
Where are those stories now?
Yes, we still get a little tidbit once in a while, a mention of a ‘random act of kindness’ here and there. And yes, we may feel our eyes mist over a bit and our hearts fill up momentarily with warmth, but the negativity quickly takes over and the small mentioned good quickly fades back into the far recesses of our minds.
Why do you think it is that we long to hear those good, positive reports? To know that there are still people out there who care about others? Willing to reach out and extend a helping hand, a listening ear, some shelter, food, a hug, a smile? Because . . . we (the human race) are created in God’s image. We do have His nature within us. The sad thing is, most of us do not choose to act upon His loving, nurturing, tender, compassionate nature. But, when we hear of it; when we see it, we are drawn to it and our heart reacts simply because that is what it truly was created to do.
There is a movie that came out a number of years ago that I really love, it is called “Pay it Forward”. It is a heart wrenching, yet wonderful movie, and I believe that the reason so many people have taken up the “Pay it Forward” theme is because it struck that very God-designed chord within us to extend ourselves to others. To give of ourselves, expecting nothing in return.
You see, even though every moment of every day in our world there are horrific things happening all around us, we CAN help bring God’s love, joy, peace and hope. How? Simply by reaching out to those you meet. It doesn’t have to be anything huge – you may struggling yourself (I can honestly attest to this being true), it will help YOU along at the same time – it could be as simple as a smile…letting someone go ahead of you in line who has less than you and is trying to cope with children. How about a gentle touch on the shoulder of a coworker as you pass by them at work when you’ve noticed that they’re having a rough day? Maybe a note of encouragement to someone, a visit to an elderly neighbor, helping someone take their groceries in, their trash out to the curb. Anything . . . just being there with a listening ear goes a L O N G way sometimes!
This saying “WWJD” has also been around for many years . . . it is often swept under the rug as trivial, but it shouldn’t be. If we would but take a moment before we say or do something in response to a specific situation, and really contemplate “What WOULD Jesus do in this situation?” can you imagine the impact it would have on society?! WOW . . . perfect example . . . yesterday – let me share:
I have had numerous health issues over the past 10 years or so and have had to rely (the last three years) upon a transportation service for my appointments. I had just returned home from a meeting at church and saw that I had about 35 minutes before my ride would be here for my doctor appointment. I sat down, paid one bill online, was about to write out my rent check when I got a call from the driver. No problem, they always call me to let me know when they are on their way. Not this time. Nope. I was told “I’m here.” Needless to say, I was shocked! I had to use the restroom. I had to go and pay my rent. I had to eat lunch . . . no way I was ready. They were a half hour early! I told them they would have to give me a few minutes, but was told “No, can’t wait.” I grabbed my check, my purse, my keys, slipped my shoes on and out the door I went. No cane, didn’t grab my medicine bag (which I’m always supposed to take with to every doctor visit) . . . told the driver that they HAD to at least take me around the corner to the office so I could drop off my rent check because they would be closed when I returned. They didn’t want to, but reluctantly did. Now, the office is up a set of stairs, and I was up and back down and in the vehicle within less than 2 minutes – OUCH – that was the first time I had been on stairs without a walker or cane or someone holding on to me in years! I was spent. But it goes on…..
I’m back in the car, trying to put my wallet and keys in my purse when the driver, not very nicely, says, “seat belt!” I comply. Then, putting my purse back together, offering up a prayer for the pain to subside and for my temper to calm . . . knowing I will have a very long wait at the doctor’s office since they were so early (my appointment not being until 2:30), I rested my head back against the seat and closed my eyes. When the car came to a stop I saw that it was not my stop so I went back to resting. The driver told me that this was where I was to get out, I said, “No, it is not.” and then proceeded to tell them what doctor and what facility.” They did NOT agree with me and SUGGESTED (not to nicely) that I call my doctor and check! I did. I was correct with the information I had given them – when I arranged the ride, and what I had just told them now. While I was on the phone with my doctor’s office they were on the phone with their dispatch and said “this client doesn’t know where she’s going” . . . well . . . all of the rudeness finally got to me (or I guess I should say, I allowed it to get to me), and I said, “Yes, I DO! It is Dr…..at….just like I said, and yes, they ARE expecting me!” – okay – they pull away from this place and decide to take the other client to their appointment – keep in mind – I still have to use the restroom and over a half hour has elapsed! Anyway, after they drop them off, they turn to me and say (after a deep sigh), “I guess I’ll take you to where you say and we’ll see if that doctor will be there.” Honestly! The whole time looking at me, acting like they think I’m completely out of my mind. I put my head back again, this time I have tears falling down my face and I don’t even care.
Now, I surely wish I could tell you that I had gotten my spiritual heart right back in place and contemplated what Jesus would have done before I got out of the vehicle to enter into the building, but that would not be the truth. However . . . and, I love God’s sense of humor, He did give me a second chance.
Today I had another appointment (yes, you know where this is going, but humor me, okay?), and as usual I’m ready ahead of time and waiting for the “I’ll be there shortly.” call – when I get a call that says, “I’m here.” I am thinking that it couldn’t possibly . . . I pick up my things and head out . . . and, it is. When I get in the car, this time I am assisted (with a smile) and gently handed the seat belt. When they get in, they read the address and ask me if that is correct, I affirm that it is, and we head on our way. This time, I ask the Lord to help me SOMEHOW make it right. She starts singing along with the radio, she has a very nice voice – perfect . . . I am able to compliment her with all sincerity. That broke the ice and we were able to exchange pleasantries with ease. No apologies for yesterdays behavior (much to my chagrin), but I am grateful that the Lord helped me to overcome and forgive regardless.
What in the world does that story have to do with today’s headlines? I’m glad you asked! Everyone has things going on in their lives. Some good, some bad. Some so overwhelming that they lash out at others with or without even realizing the effect he or she may have on those around them. They may cause deep wounding without even being aware. Unfortunately there are even deaths caused due to road rage simply because someone over reacted to someone else being oblivious to what was happening around them due to their own ‘story’ going on.
How we act, react, speak, don’t speak – everything we do – does have an impact on others whether we realize it or not. Whether or not we want it to or not. As far as I see it, we can become another statistic in the headlines of tragedy or we can become one of those back page / sideline-mentioned “good stories” that have the ability to lift up and encourage. If enough of us make the choice to be the latter, the more those back pages may sneak right on up to the front page and eventually become headlines themselves!
(c) klh 4Given Ministries