“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind
and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor
as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
Linda always dreaded the walk down the hallway to her apartment when she was with her toddlers. The young kids were often loud and would prompt her neighbor, Gladys, to fuss about the noise.
Gladys was an older woman who seemed perpetually unhappy. Linda once mentioned to her husband that she’d never seen the woman smile. “She always looks angry with the world…and the boys.” She sighed, thinking of their sons.
As Linda was coming up the stairs with her groceries and her toddlers, a bag slipped from her hand. Her groceries spilled into the hallway, and she was busy trying to gather them when Gladys opened her door to complain.
Since she was distracted, Linda’s three-year-old was able to dart into the older woman’s apartment. Linda quickly followed after him, apologizing the entire time. She scooped her squirming toddler up, and as she did, she caught sight of a display.
It was a memorial to Gladys’ son, a soldier in the military who hadn’t returned from his last mission. “It made me see Gladys in a whole new light,” Linda said to her husband that night.
From then on, Linda made it a habit to reach out to Gladys. She’d stop by just to bring a plate of cookies, or she’d offer to pick up the woman’s groceries. It took time, but Linda noticed that Gladys was beginning to warm up to her.
“We’re not besties,” Linda laughs, “But I think we’re on the way to friendship.”
God, when I’m tempted to judge someone else, help me to remember they may be dealing with deep pain. Let me be an instrument You use to bring healing and grace to their heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.