The other day I was in the checkout line. It was the Friday before a long weekend so the shops were busy. I had already been waiting for quite a while when a lady two checkouts away caught my attention.
This woman was heavily pregnant and had a huge amount of groceries that she was trying to stack one handed on to the conveyer belt. With the other had she was trying to stop her 18 month old from falling out of the trolley while he was pitching a fit. She eventually took the child out of the trolley and held him, still screaming while she continued to load the groceries on the conveyor.
I could hear the people around me voice their disapproval of her parenting and the noise that the child was making.
At that moment God and I began a conversation. He prompted me to go and help her. As I looked at the line moving ever so slowly on front of me and the ever-increasing line behind me I thought about how this ‘helping’ was going to inconvenience me!
Then the story of the Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37 flashed through my mind! God asked me if I was going to be like those who just passed by or the one who stopped to help?
Was I going to be the person who stops and becomes a part of what God is doing?
So I wheeled my trolley out of line and positioned it in the vacant checkout between hers and mine and asked her if I could help.
She accepted my offer and I began to stack. When I looked around I saw that not only was the child still crying but the lady was now crying as well!
In that moment the atmosphere around us began to change. People began to gather around her and ladies hugged her and asked if they could help.
After I finished loading her groceries I went to grab my trolley but it had been moved and wasn’t in the empty isle where I had left it? I looked up and saw that the couple who were behind me, who had spoken so meanly about this woman, had returned my trolley to the position I had originally had in front of them.
I was so blown away by that! I thanked them and we had a little chat about how hard it is to be a mum. Then the woman ahead of me in line sent her kids off into the shop to buy a match box car to try to distract and pacify the pregnant ladies children. People surrounded the woman to check she was ok. Even the management of the shop was there to help.
Only a few minutes earlier this women had been alone, looked upon with judgment and irritation yet now she was surrounded by love and care.
Isn’t it interesting that one act of kindness caused the atmosphere in the situation to completely change? Instead of looking upon her with judgment and disdain they looked upon her with love and compassion.
Scripture talks about us being the light of the world, Matthew 5:14. In that situation, the ‘light’ of stepping out and doing good infected those around and encouraged them to do good also. It caused others to see this lady in a different ‘light’ and they were moved with compassion.
Our light can be contagious and affect those around us.
Every day there are God opportunities to change the atmosphere from dark to light.
The question is, are we willing to step into them?
Give me eyes to see when you are inviting me to be the light in a situation. Thank You that You give us opportunities to share Your love and compassion with others and to be Your hands and feet on this earth.