As a mother, I like to think that I am a source of wisdom to my daughters, that they look to me for advice and counsel.
But it is really great when my daughters share words of wisdom for me.
Recently my youngest daughter, who is a pastor, spoke something in a sermon that has really been meaningful to me. She said:
“We don’t draw lines to keep people out. We cross lines to bring people in.”
The more I thought about that statement, the more I realized that sometimes I have drawn lines to keep people out.
- They did not meet my “standards.”
- They were not dressed “properly.”
- They were not of my political viewpoint
How many times have I missed an opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ because the lines I drew shut them out? Made them feel unwelcome.
Then my oldest daughter, who is a school teacher, shared with me her experiences this year with the Covid crisis in school.
She had a coworker whose dress was eccentric, whose walk was strange. This coworker greeted her every morning when she came to work with a cheerful “Good morning Mrs. Thomas.” My daughter was struggling just to make it to school on this stressful year and that last thing she wanted when she came in was a “sunny side up” greeting. She said for awhile she just gave a quick reply and hurried past the coworker to her room.
But one day the Holy Spirit quickened her heart and she began asking God to help her see this person as He did. She began stopping to talk each morning and listen to the person.
She knits caps for all her students and when the coworker commented how much they liked the hats, she made one for them.
The person did not change – what changed was how my daughter saw them.
Again, I wonder how many times I quickly pass by that person whose personality I do not care for, that person who annoys me. How many times do I fail to see them as God sees them.
So – I have two prayers today:
- God help me not to shut people out because they are different from me – help me not to be judgmental but to reach out and show them your love.
- God help me to look past what annoys me and help me to see people as you see them.
When I was pregnant with both my daughters, I used to put my hand on my stomach and pray that they would grow up to be people who made a difference, who shared God’s love.
How grateful I am to see that prayer was answered.
Now I’m trusting that my two new prayers will also be answered.
What a better world we would live in if we all prayed those prayers.
What a wonderful world it would be, and indeed they will all be, perhaps not in the way we expect