Where Was Love?

“…Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:39

I just stood there.

I overheard the conversation. She had given him money for gas to get to work, yet he still needed money for food. He hadn’t eaten and wouldn’t be paid until tomorrow.

And I just stood there!

Didn’t I have money in my purse?  Yes.

Didn’t I hear…see…the need? Yes.

Then, what stopped me?

My cold heart…full of Me.

My cold heart stopped me from being compassionate…kind…giving…from sharing what God had given me…from loving my neighbor.

Did he go hungry last night?

Did I care?

My actions declared it. Shouted it! Screamed it! — NO! I DIDN’T CARE!

How could I be so callous…so selfish?

I saw him…noticed him…heard him.  It was obvious he was living a life of hardship. His gaunt frame declared his lack of food.

Where was my compassion…my kindness…my heart of love?

Gone. It was obviously gone.

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My heart of love had become a heart of stone. A big old ugly stone.

My heart was not devoted to the Lord. My heart was devoted to Me…to Self.

What would I have really given up to share some money for a meal? A few dollars?

What stopped me from doing good to this young man?

The Lord’s conviction to my soul revealed a few things:

Ugly Judgment!

Somehow I had judged him as unworthy. (Unworthy of my help?!)

I should have turned my finger back on myself—for being so hard-hearted.

HE NEEDED TO EAT.

Ugly Greed!

Wow. Did money—that tiny amount of money—mean more to me than filling the empty stomach of a hungry young man?

HE NEEDED TO EAT.

Ugly Pride!

Pride. Thinking of myself more highly than I ought. Once again—putting myself before someone else.

HE. NEEDED. TO. EAT.

Guilt and shame are pouring down upon my sorry soul.

“…love is kind…it is not proud…it is not self-seeking…Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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I was unkind. I was too full of pride. I was self-seeking. I failed.

(Silence.)

Where is he now, Lord?

Will he have to face working today weakened from a stomach left empty all night?

Because I was too callous to care?

How do I make this right, Lord? CAN I make this right, Lord?

I don’t have his phone number. I don’t know where he lives. I don’t know where he works.

The opportunity to help him last night has come and gone.

And with all this ugly, I failed.

Failed to love.

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Oh my precious Father, please forgive me. One. More. Time. I have sinned against You with a callous, selfish, and prideful heart. I have hurt this man. I let him go hungry when I could have filled his stomach. I’m ashamed, Lord. I cannot undo what I have done. The hurt remains. But I can move forward, even today, to show love…to remember not to judge, to be generous with the blessings you have given me, and to be humble before You and others. Soften this stony heart of mine and remove all the ugly, O Lord! Please help me! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

All Scripture from New International Version of the Bible, 1984.

Stone Heart photo by Janet Ramsden via flickr, license: CC BY 2.0

Other photos by Sabra Penley
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4 Comments

Filed under Compassion, Doing Good, Humility, Love, Pride, Self

4 responses to “Where Was Love?

  1. Oh, Sabra, how often have I done the same? Too often. Pride is my arch enemy. When we realize it, we are on the path to do better. Be better. God forgives and will provide another opportunity for you to help another. And He will do the same for me. Thank you for sharing your heart so transparently. You speak what I have felt before and not been brave enough to speak. Blessings today.

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    • Thanks for your encouragement, Meredith. It means so much. This was a hard post to write. I kept questioning whether God wanted me to post it or just wanted me to write it down so I wouldn’t forget. But I kept hearing the Holy Spirit say, “Be faithful and obedient.” Being open with the very dark places of my heart is definitely teaching me to let go of my pride. And, if the Lord can use it to help one other person, it is an immense blessing! Have a great weekend!

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  2. Yes, it’s so easy to justify our lack of love. So easy to grow callous to the needs of others.

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