(02.21.11--Compassion’s Garden!--Proverbs 28:27)
May I ask you a question? Can first images be so compelling that when we fail to take in the entire message, they can also be deceiving?
My friend, Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
I'm M. Clifford Brunner.
There’s a ministry advertisement on several of the cable channels with a very specific and extremely graphic message. When the commercial comes on you see pictures of little children around the world in poverty stricken nations suffering from severely cleft palates. The images are gruesome. I’ve seen the commercial a number of times and, out of habit, I hit the mute button as I so often do with commercials. I also avert my eyes. I guess that I have an aversion to cleft palates. There’s something about that particular malady that repulses me and I’m immediately moved to remove the image from view. Recently, however, the commercial came on and, although poised to press the mute button, I hesitated. Ten seconds led to 20 and soon the entire 60-second spot penetrated me. Amazingly, the repulsion receded with every passing second. By the end of the commercial my aversion had been totally replaced with a feeling of compassion.
First images can be compelling. But when we fail to take in the entire message, they can also be deceiving.
Here's a story: Years after the death of President Calvin Coolidge, this story came to light. In the early days of his presidency, Coolidge awoke one morning in his hotel room to find a cat burglar going through his pockets. Coolidge spoke up, asking the burglar not to take his watch chain because it contained an engraved charm he wanted to keep. Coolidge then engaged the thief in quiet conversation and discovered he was a college student who had no money to pay his hotel bill or buy a ticket back to campus. Coolidge counted $32 out of his wallet – which he had also persuaded the dazed young man to give back; – declared it to be a loan, and advised the young man to leave the way he had come so as to avoid the Secret Service! And, yes, the loan was paid back. (Sermon.com)
Proverbs reminds us: “he who closes his eyes to (the poor) receives many curses” (Proverbs 28:27). God wants us to identify with the poor and not ignore or avert their image from our lives. I personally believe that this is the first step in develop- ing a compassionate, Christian character. As with all things spiritual, God starts us out with the easy–simply opening our eyes. Most of us live in a safe, comfortable environment surrounded by many blessings. When we see those who live otherwise, it threatens our safe zones. You and I need to climb out of the safe zone and discover that first impressions are just that, impressions. If Coolidge hadn’t opened his eyes to the young intruder in his room, he would have forever remained a burglar and not someone who faithfully repaid a loan. The next time your eyes meet up with someone outside of your safe zone, don’t avert them. You may find that a quick glance may lead to a lifetime of compassionate focus.
We pray. Heavenly Father, Help us to climb out of the safe zone and discover that first impressions are just that, impressions. If we don’t open our eyes to the intruders in our lives, they will be forever our enemies and not someone who faithfully repays a debt when they make a mistake. The next time our eyes meet up with someone outside of our safe zone, help us Lord not to avert our eyes from them. Move us by Your Spirit to find that a quick glance may lead to a lifetime of compassionate focus. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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<firstname.lastname@example.org> From Beech Springs, God bless you for Jesus sake.