Be careful how you entertain strangers, for some have kicked it with angels incognito (Hebrews 13:2 Pastor Freddy Haynes Remix)
He’s not really a stranger but he’s my “secret” friend. It’s okay to hang out with him alone or around the house and have him fix stuff for me; but all I can think of is embarrassment when it comes to taking him around other people. Surely you can understand. He splits verbs, ends his sentences with prepositions where they are not required (ex: Where they going at?) and the words “ain’t,” “y’all,” “fixin to” and “nem/dem” are popular in his vocabulary. My grammar is far from perfect but hearing him talk sometimes makes me cringe. I definitely wouldn’t want to subject anyone else to that annihilation of the English language. Besides that, he’s my friend not my “friend.” He likes me and I wouldn’t want him or other people to get it confused. He’s a super nice guy but just not group ready, in my opinion. I should correct that to he’s not group ready for my social scene. You understand, don’t you?
As I got ready to head to a public festival where thousands of people would be gathered, I could tell that he really wanted to join me. He’s not from here and his job is a lonely one so he doesn’t get to interact with people much. I acted oblivious at first and then I kind of let him know that I would be hanging with my friends so he couldn’t come to the event. Immediately, I felt guilty as if I knew that he wanted to enjoy a slice of life and I was denying him. I asked him if he wanted to go but the damage was already done.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12 NIV)
On my way to the event I was consumed with guilt about the way I acted but shrugged it off because I was going to enjoy myself. As I drove on to the festival, each friend that was scheduled to come with me called and cancelled. I was bothered by it but not completely disturbed because the friend who invited me always has plenty of people under his tent and around his barbeque grill. It’s like our own private party amidst the big festival. Finding people to socialize with wouldn’t be difficult.
I arrived, spoke to my friend who was manning the grill and plopped my chair down amongst a group of females (who I have interacted with at some of his events before). They half-heartedly spoke and immediately went back to their conversation. I could have been a leaf on the tree we were sitting next to. Usually, I fit well into social scenes and can become “Chatty Cathy” but today was quite different. I was never included, invited or welcomed into the conversation. As another one of their friends wanted to join the circle and it began to rain, I decided to move my chair to a nearby tent and join another circle. In this group no one was talking and if they were it was to the person immediately next to them. I was amongst a crowd of people but felt isolated and alone.
The festival was in a park and there was a pavilion where people were dancing. Surely, I can enjoy myself on the dance floor. I went to the dance floor and danced a few songs but even that was lonely because I had no friend on the floor with me and no one asked me to dance. I walked to my seat, plopped down and thought “God, I get it!!!”
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40 NIV)
I was worried about my friend “embarrassing” me and not fitting into this social scene but in reality I would have had a blast with him present. He would have had the opportunity to enjoy this small slice of life and I wouldn’t have been lonely. Instead, I was worried about a group of people who didn’t split verbs but weren’t paying me any attention or care one bit about me. Who was I to treat his feelings so callously? Surely, I did not treat him how I wanted to be treated or show him God’s love. God has no grammar or spell check and He’s not embarrassed to hang out with me even when I’m at my worst. I sat there for a few more hours bathing in my Karma and reflecting on my actions knowing that my small act of kindness would have gone a long way.
Every person on this planet is Your child and should be treated as such. Forgive me for breaking Your Golden Rule. I am glad that You look on the inside and not at our outward appearance. You’re not concerned with our grammar but with our heart. Help me to be more like You! Let me show Your love and compassion to my neighbor and take my nose out of the air. Remind me that the very person I turn my nose up at can be an angel that you have sent my way. When I find myself in these situations, give me the courage to make the right decision even when it’s not the “popular” one. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Today I EMPOWER you to treat others as you wish to be treated. You may not give money but you can give a smile and a “how you doing?” to that needy person who is constantly bothering you on your way to work. I EMPOWER you to listen to others and before making rash decisions put yourself in their shoes. I EMPOWER you to love your neighbor that you can see so that you can truly express your love for a God that you cannot.
Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a small business co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. One of her favorite scriptures is Hebrews 11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.