My wife Kathy and I participate in an inner city ministry each Saturday where we distribute surplus bread and food to needy families. We have been involved in this ministry for about three years and have watched it blossom into something that is truly beautiful. As the ministry has been faithful each week, trust and relationships have grown and lives are being transformed right before our eyes!
A couple weeks ago Kathy and I were talking to Tina, one of the ladies from the inner city neighborhood that helps out each week. She rides her bike each week to the house where the ministry is based to spend time with us and help with clean-up. While we were in conversation with Tina, a gentleman was handing out bible tracts (pamphlets with scripture) and when he reached our group he handed the tract to Tina but did not hand one to Kathy and me. Tina was offended that she was singled out and she immediately spoke up. The man quickly corrected the situation and gave Kathy and me a tract and moved on. It was a very subtle event in my eyes; however, Tina noticed the pass over immediately. As if she is the only one that needed Jesus since she was from the neighborhood! I thought- wow- this guy should have recognized this and gave us all one in the first place. What was he thinking?
Later in the morning, I was in the midst of handing out bread and I offered some bread to guy that looked as though he was from the neighborhood. He politely declined and told me that he had plenty of bread. Well, as it turned out, he was actually there serving and helping out with the ministry. I assumed due to his dress and skin color that he also was from the neighborhood. Wow- strike two! Now I was the one doing the profiling! Again, the oversight was subtle and certainly not intentional. However, I did essentially the same thing- I concluded something based solely on his appearance.
Making assumptions based on appearance is tricky territory. The guy you see in the tattered clothes could actually be a millionaire. We tend to react based on what our experiences tell us, and this may lead to bad information. We must be very careful when we consider the hearts of others. Even the most subtle oversights like these are difficult for those that are in a fragile condition. Make sure that you handle the hearts of others like a good surgeon; gently, deliberately and with great care!
2 responses to “Strike Two!”
Thank you sir for your words of wisdom. I too was guilty this morning of judging you for some work you’re doing close to my childhood hometown.Looking at your last name (Polish?),and developing yet another piece of land for residences in a glutted market,I thought,”another greedy millionaire.” Then I read a few of your journal entries and was moved emotionally. One,because of your genuine relationship with the Lord,and two,because I’ve done missionary and volunteer work.How quickly we think we’ve arrived when we have to be called out.I’m going to strive to do better.1Cor.10:12.
Thanks for your comments and your kind words. I personally know how hard it is to not judge others as I have failed over and over in this area. And I know the pain of watching development in my backyard. I can only hope that you will be happy with the finished product and that it will help to serve your community. I pray that God will give you peace and comfort and that His love will fill you completely. Blessings to you and your family!