Posts Tagged ‘judgement’

I’m not talking about the sickeningly sweet couple who giggles at eachother and licks whipped cream off of eachother’s noses, or the couple who can’t keep their hands out of eachother’s back pockets nor tongues out of eachother’s throats.

Although I could–because they have a lot to show us about love too…. so maybe I’ll take a mental not of that.

but I’m talking about the kind of love that is legitimately kind.  that isn’t proud, rude, self-seeking, doesn’t keep records of wrongs, protects, HOPES, and trusts, doesn’t judge and isn’t easily angered.

The kind that I saw demonstrated the other day.

The kind that sees someone begging for money, and gives what money he has on him.  In the meantime, drivers in neighbouring cars literally turned up their noses in disgust that he had given money to this vagrant who, “probably only wanted the money for drugs or booze anyways”

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Indeed–your choice to love this homeless person in a simple way offended those around you.  But you didn’t just give him the change you had on you–you asked how he was doing today, and if there was anything more he wanted that you could help him with.

And now that I’m telling the world about what you did, there will be myriads more who are offended by your choice to love.  There will be those who believe he was underserving of your life, because “he must have brought it on himself”  (see my recent post on mercy)
There will be those who have a passion for social justice who see your actions as well-intentioned, but misguided and thus enabling him and worsening the societal problems at large.  
There will be those who are not at all passionate about social justice, but have simply rationalized their choice to look the other way by telling themselves that anything they give any homeless person will just be used for drugs and booze.

But the reality is– you gave because you see a human being who has been hurt and broken enough by life to stand in the cold and in the rain and beg for the mercy of humanity to sustain you.

and yeah… maybe he was on drugs.  maybe he was ‘jonesing’  maybe he was collecting money for another hit, or another bottle.  and maybe the money you gave him will be what it takes for him to get another drink that will numb the pain enough for him to be able to bear the demons that first drove him to drink in the first place.  

and maybe the money will buy a loaf of bread and he’ll bring it home to his children.

Or maybe it will help him to buy bus fare to get to his brother’s house a few cities away…

but at the end of the day….
We don’t know, and it’s not ours to judge.  In that moment, when you don’t have the time to do much more, you had a choice.  You could either ignore him entirely, or demonstrate Christ’s love for him– a love that meets each of us where we are at–and doesn’t demand change first, but loves *first*.

I’m not going to pretend that enabling isn’t a real thing–of course, it is…  But I’m saying that the choice to love with no strings attached is very Christlike… and very countercultural– it takes humility, and courage, and compassion.  And I loved seeing you make that choice.  I love your kindness.

Is this the final solution to homelessness and poverty in our society?  of course not!  There is a great deal more needed!  and I know you probably know that.  
But this post isn’t about homelessness, or social justice programs, or the alternatives to “handouts”.  Those are all important things too.

But you saw a person whose dignity has been all but entirely lost–however that may have come to be, and you have given them what you had–kindness-the dignity of looking into their eyes–talking to them, and the dignity of trusting them to spend the money you hand out to them how they see fit.

Your love and compassion is beautiful.

And what you may not have had the opportunity to see is that a driver behind you rolled her eyes at you.  Then her son in the backseat pointed at you and presumably asked what was going on… and then she drummed her fingers on her steering wheel for a moment–and then reached out and offered the individual something as well.

Your love and compassion was infectious.  Your love and compassion inspired a disposition of kindness and grace in another.

May you find yourself loved and extended kindness to you when you most need it, and may love and compassion overflow into your life!

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So my Sabbath turned into 3 days…  and I’m making no promises to catch up. :S

But here we go!
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I’ll admit it.  At first I was a little wary when you addressed my daughter.  I was ready to jump in with my big Mama-bear suit on and tell you to step off.  (as politely as possible of course)  But it didn’t take me too long to realize that you were offering me an ally.

As you asked my daughter, “Why are you YELLING?” in an exaggerated aghast tone, the words, “it takes a village” raced through my mind.  I paused to watch how my daughter would respond to you.  She ceased her assertion that she “needed” the bundle of lollipops that she had found by the til and came to my leg very calmly, while looking at you. Relieved that her encounter with you was ‘over’, and I wouldn’t have to intervene, I thanked her for coming to me. Which was all the invitation she needed to take up her chant about lollipops again, this time with hitting.

Internally, I rolled my eyes and thought, “hooboy… now’s where the grocery store expects me to ‘put my kid in line’ and maybe smack her back, and where everyone is going to judge me for my gentle response.

Nevertheless, I knelt down and caught her hands and reminded her that God gave us our hands to bless and not to hurt, and that I was sorry, but lollipops were not an option.
Then I proceeded to pay for the treat we HAD stopped at the grocery store to buy, and as I did,  and my daughter’s complaining continued, you engaged again.  As I heard your voice, I thought surely you were judging my inefficient parenting and were about to ‘right my wrong’, but in fact, you were tag-teaming with what I’d done, asking my daughter if she was going to put away her childsized buggy we’d been using.

As I finished up the transaction, I remarked with a sigh, (more to myself than anyone) and this is why I hate grocery stores!”

the cashier responded with empathy, and then you said this beautiful piece of encouragement, about what a good job you felt I was doing, and how hard it is to say ‘no’ to our little ones, and how strong I must be.

So thank you…
Thank you for not judging… or anyways, not condemning my parenting style
You can’t possibly know how badly I needed that encouragement.   On a day where I felt like a failure not only as a parent, but as a human being, to have ANY kind of encouragement, but specific, glowing and lenghty encouragement, from a source where I was expecting the opposite was a monstrous blessing!

I know how hard it can be to step into someone else parent-child interaction in the first place… after all, Mama-bears often WILL feel like your first engagement was a statement about their failure as parents and make it clear, sometimes with disdain, sometimes more tactfully, that “they’ve got this”.

so it takes guts to engage in the first place.
Seems to me most people only find those guts when their righteous indignation that they can parent better than the actual parent takes over.

Yours came from the place of seeing a worn out Mama who needed backup.  

And I never really thanked you.  I never responded one way or the other to your comments to my daughter… so you probably really DIDN’T know how I was feeling about it all.

So to continue on with the courage to bless me with your encouragement…
Thank you.

May you also be blessed with encouragement from an unlikely source when you most need it, and may you know, somewhere in your spirit, that this is a tender touch from a God who loves you and wants you to know that He cares!