One day while entering a grocery store, I noticed an elderly woman leaving with a loaded grocery cart. I gently put my hand on her shoulder and said, “Ma’am, those canned goods look awfully heavy. Can I load those into your car for you?” She responded, “Oh yes, that would be wonderful. Thank you so much.” I then pushed her loaded cart as she placed her arm in mine.
Turns out this elderly woman loved to talk. A lot. We chatted for 10 minutes even after I finished loading her car. I then said my goodbye and returned to the store to finish my shopping.
It took me 30 minutes before I was back at my car loading my own groceries. Then out of the corner of my eye, a dumpy redneck jeep parked in front of my car and out stepped a man. My judgment was this man is dangerous. He was tall and huge with a long gray beard and wearing a leather jacket. Who knows how long since his last haircut or his last arrest or assault. And from his body language and his walking pace towards me, I knew he meant business. I needed to run and run fast. But he was too fast for me.
Doing a wide-eagle arm spread, this burly man almost picks me off my feet in a bear hug. I don’t even have time to respond, thus leaving my arms awkwardly mashed to my sides. I had no way to escape his assaulting bear hug when he says, “I watched what you did for that elderly woman. I wish there were more men like you in the world.”
I just hung there as his squishable teddy bear in complete shock. Once he let go, I said it was no big deal and that I was just trying to be good. And with the same walking pace as before, he climbed into his redneck jeep and left.
This experience left me with two impressions:
- I completely misjudged this man. He is the salt of the earth and full of goodness.
- I had no idea anyone was watching me or that my actions would affect another bystander.
I hope to be less judgmental and more aware how my actions can testify of God’s goodness. As Luke wrote:
“…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good…” (Acts 10:38).