After worship I usually return back to the office to sit quietly. I need to simply breathe and settle myself. I guess it has become a ritual of sorts for me.  Also, I use the time to prep and organize my mind for the rest of the week.  Yesterday the doorbell rang and then a hurried second rang. A bit bother because it is unreasonable for anyone to expect an immediate response. It just takes a bit of time to get to the door. (I’m not going to reveal what I was thinking or muttering as I strolled to the door.  I can assure you it was unbecoming of me.) What I know is that when the bell rings following worship (just like on a Friday afternoon) it usually means someone is looking for some kind of help. It’s not like the intrusion was disturbing anything actually important; it was just annoying.  I arrived at the door as a younger women had turned back toward the parking lot.  She heard the door unlocked and hesitantly turned around. Yep, I thought – gas money, food, perhaps diapers, maybe even medication so I wondered what her story would be. She told me that she was on her way back to Texas but stopped at Pine Shores because she wanted (or needed) to speak to someone. That seemed interesting. Apparently, about five years ago we helped her by giving her some money. The story she told us was that her father had cancer and she was desperate to get to him because she was to become his sole caregiver.  I don’t recall helping nor does Karen. Anyway, she told me that it was all a lie. She flat out lied to us to get money.  She needed the money but it wasn’t due to her father’s cancer. Tears filled her eyes as she stood and asked me (on behalf of us) to forgive her. As we chatted further, it became obvious that this (and other) choices had weighed heavy in her heart and head for some time. I met her family – husband and three children.  I had a prayer with them and they pulled out heading back home to Texas.  It was a moment for her to, for them to “start again.” I’ll take that as truth. Now, before your cynical side starts wagging your finger fiercely at me, let me remind you that some people do actually struggle.  They have no privilege or “break” or family support or amazing teacher or engaged faith community to walk along side. We do have a choice not to generalize about others. Maybe, just maybe, we all need to remember that some things one can only achieve by an intentional step in another direction – that’s the step of beginning again.

Scripture Reading: Luke 6:37
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Reflection Questions:
What assumptions do you make when you see someone unlike you?
What step of beginning again do you need to take?
Who are the people that helped you along the way?

Prayer: Holy God, lessen my tendency to quickly judge others particularly those who don’t speak like me or look like me or act like me.  Let me become more gracious. Amen.

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