I walked to a corner table in the restaurant, passing a table with a half-eaten plate of food. I was sure the other half of the food was on the floor. I sat down and wondered what kind of parent would allow his child to make such an awful mess.
As I pondered, a severely crippled man in a wheelchair rolled out from the restroom hallway. My heart filled with sympathy for his affliction. He made his way through the restaurant to the table covered with scraps of food, and with hands and fingers bent in ten different directions, he began to feed himself.
It’s easy for us to become frustrated with those whose problems we can’t see or don’t know. Loving-kindness and understanding flow unhindered toward those we know and care about.
For the single mother whose only son is fighting in a far-off land in a battle that isn’t ours, we feel sympathy; but to the mother whose son is autistic and throwing his food, we shake our heads and wonder why he isn’t in a special school.
We easily feel for the elderly man wearing an oxygen man and coughing uncontrollably, but for the woman whose heartburn makes her cough, we wonder why she doesn’t just remove herself from our hearing.
The friend whose hair fell out during cancer treatment receives our prayers; while the man we accuse of being lazy is unbeknownst to us also recovering from cancer.
It’s easier to show loving-kindness toward those whose difficulties are obvious to the eye. Loving each other requires a gift from God; and thankfully, it’s a gift He’s given to each of His children.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7).