A couple of years back we went to visit a dear friend in California. One night we decided to do the tourist thing and take a walk down Hollywood Boulevard. A few steps into the journey we stopped to get the boys a small treat, because they were hungry.
Minutes later, I felt Josiah’s grip tighten in mine. In the midst of the street performers, he saw her. She was sitting on a battered trunk, her clothes were filthy, and she held a sign that said, “Hungry, Please help.”
But what drew him in was the sadness in her eyes.
I felt it too, but questions came to my mind like, “What if she was lying . . .”
Josiah reacted quickly, he dropped his hand from mine. He took his package of Starbursts, and reached out and touched her shoulder. He came running back to my husband and I asking for money.
“She needs more .” His innocence placed no judgement or questions about her needs. My husband sensing the sacredness of the moment, opened his wallet and placed some bills into our son’s hands.
My son saw her – not her filth, not her sin, but her. He went to her, and he touched her. When he placed his hand on her shoulder she reached to grab it. She too was moved by his love. I don’t think it was the warm, sweaty candy that moved her. It was realizing that for a small moment someone was sensing her pain and entering her sorrow. In the innocence of childhood, he painted a picture of compassion, that I will long remember.
Compassion shares, touches, compassion gives without passing judgement.
In a world where Christians desire to be relevant, and a positive voice in the world. , maybe compassion is the way. It sure seems like something Jesus would do, and certainly follows his command to love others. Maybe our first step is not drawing a line between those who are in, and those who are out. Maybe loving comes first, and when we truly enter into the lives, when we share ourselves and our stuff, when we sit close enough to touch, when we share our Starbursts – without judging.
Only in the moment will their hearts will be soft and their ears will be able to hear.
Rachel Boyd is the Managing Director of MoreThanAMirror.com.