Monday, October 24, 2011

The Hurting People We Never See

Last month I wrote about my friend's encounter with two busybody church ladies, and what happened when they literally backed into one another. One woman insisted the other was lying about the circumstances surrounding the parking lot fender bender, and was going to "tell Pastor Dave" about the deceiver.

My friend is an officer who, after more than 30 years, he has seen it all. But, it's the nasty trash talk that comes out of the mouths of so-called "Christians" that continues to dismay and confound him.

He worked a minor car accident the other day in which a truck driver was sideswiped by a passing vehicle while standing outside his truck. He's lucky his injuries were minor. Anyway, he was a large man, and he was missing a few teeth. These facts are important to the story.

My friend was taking the accident report from the visibly shaken man. When asked if there were any witnesses, he said his driving partner had seen the whole thing from his seat inside the stalled truck. Before speaking with the witness, the officer chatted a bit more with the victim, and he was struck by how kind he was. He wasn't angry with the driver who clipped him, but in fact he was concerned for the man's well being.

The officer complimented him on his gentle spirit and remarked at how calm he was. He said, "My partner is the angry, mouthy one. I find it easier to just relax and try to be a gentler person." He explained that the man who often accompanies him on long-distance trips could be a preacher because he knows the Bible so well. However, he always makes fun of people who are "fat" or "ugly".

As the sweet man nursed his wounded arm, he continued the conversation.

"My wife is overweight and she's very, very self-conscious. She is the kindest and most beautiful woman in the world - to me. However, she rarely leaves the house because of people like my friend over there."

The officer listened sympathetically.

"That man claims he's a Christian, but the words that come out of his mouth are cruel and ugly. It's hard for me to travel with him because I know it's because of guys like him that keep my wife from even going to church. He even makes fun of me sometimes." Apparently the guy tries to share the gospel, but his testimony is clearly overshadowed by his mean spirit.

My friend never did quite understand why the gentle, albeit scraggly, trucker had to share the cab of the eighteen-wheeler with the caustic Christian, but he felt his pain.

I don't care how much someone knows about the Bible. People don't care about how much you know; they need to know how much you care. 

Every time you're tempted to make a joke about someone's appearance, think about the "kindest and most beautiful woman in the world" who can't even leave her home because of people like you.

Now, get off the pew and be kind to someone today.

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