You’d think that after all the years I have spent with Jesus I would be more like Him. I thought I would be more like Him by now. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been progress, but not as much as I would like. Tonight was a brilliant reminder of how petty, shallow, judgmental and blind I am. Tonight I got to look at my heart in a great flaw-reflecting mirror and I flinched. I did not like what I saw. You aren’t going to like what you see of it either, but bear with me.
It all started at Wal*Mart.
I won’t say which one because the beauty of Wal*Mart is that one is pretty much like another; four walls, a roof, the Smiley Mark Down Guy (he’s watching ALWAYS watching) and deals on everything from toothpaste to tractor batteries. I was there for several things (shampoo, cotton swabs, jellybeans, and pen refills) and I went after work. That made it somewhat worse, as I was tired and the later you go to Wal*Mart, the stranger things you are going to see and here. This is a well documented Wal*Mart rule of thumb.
In the toothpaste aisle (I was cutting through on my journey to shampoo) I ran into Wal*martian #1 “Inappropriately Dressed Girl” and quickly pressed on but not before texting a friend what I’d seen and sniggering to myself.
I thank you Lord, that I am not like that girl~I dress appropriately and modestly.
Down in the stationary aisle, I ran into Wal*Martian #2 “On Probation & Proud Of It Girl” who was, at the top of her voice, recounting how she had “played the system” and “Gotten out of sentencing for counseling” to a friend who she hadn’t seen in a while. I moved on, cut around the corner, texted my friend again, my eyes wider than before, and decided to head to the video section and see if there was anything I wanted on sale. Anything to get away from “On Probation” who was discoursing on the loop holes in the justice system for anyone who was interested in hearing.
I thank you Lord, that I am not like that girl~I obey the law and have self-mastery.
Not finding anything, and wanting just to go home (though I hadn’t found the pen refills, jellybeans, or cotton swabs) I turned and walked through the kids section to the front. I like to look at the LEGOS and grin over some of the strange things that pass for toys today. There I met Wal*martian #3 “Faux Gangbanger” who was swaggering down the aisle, using all manner of language as he talked to someone on his pay-as-you-go-phone and tried to keep his trousers from dragging on the floor.
I thank you Lord, that I am not like that guy~I work for a living and there is no vile word found in my mouth, nor do I ape the fashions of murderers and thieves.
I got to the check out line, got through it, and high-tailed it outside. Where I walked nearly into Wal*martian #4 & #5 “Poster Girl For Lung Cancer” and “That’s Not Cigarette Smoke Boy”
I thank you Lord, that I am not like them, I am not an addict. I keep my body, Your Temple, pure.
I got home, put my things away, and sat down. Oh, it had been a long day but I’d really helped people at work and felt satisfied. It had been a long day, but a good day.
You mocked My children I knew that voice, I’d know it anywhere. It rang inside my head and made every last hair on my arms stand up. But it was infinitely sad, the kind of sadness that makes tears prick in my eyes, that makes my breath catch, and makes my throat burn. What? I asked Him When did I do that today? When?
All the those that I’d labelled at the store sprang up in living Technicolor before me.
You named her Inappropriately Dressed Girl, but I know her as Longing to Be Loved He said quietly.
You named her On Probation Girl, but I know her as Does Anyone Care for Me? He continued.
My chest was beginning to ache.
You named him Faux Gangbanger, but I know him as Trying to Count. He wasn’t finished Poster Girl for Lung Cancer you called her, but I know her as The Pain is too Great and he is not That’s Not Cigarette Smoke Boy, I know him as Desperate for Hope.
I love them with the same fiery infinite care I have for you.
I had judged and labeled them all! I had weighed out their worth and pinned price tags to them. I seen only temporal and pinned the wrong price tags to them.
Worse than that, I had priced my worth above them as I devalued them.
Here is my prayer for tonight.
God have mercy on me, a sinner. God have mercy on me, a sinner. God have mercy on me, a sinner. And oh Jesus, please, don’t let me do it again. Next time I’m in Wal*Mart, let me see with Your eyes, and remember that I’m a love letter from You to them, no matter where I go.
And the reason I’m sharing this with you is two fold. One, I don’t want to do that again so now that you know, you can keep me accountable.
Two, it is so easy to do that. It is so easy to fall into the trap of judging others and sniggering at them up our righteous sleeves. Take my ugly sharing as a warning and be mindful of where your thoughts go, where your heart is, when you are out and about in the wide world of those that Christ loves with “a fiery infinite care.”
Encourage one another, Scribes.