Hypocrisy is when we feign high principles.
I seek earnestly to TRY to steer away from hypocrisy, so today’s devotion has to focus on the other part of the hospital visit story and how it relates to the prayer, “Please.”
I am asking for a “Cone of Safety” as I have been convicted of my “screw up” . . . I am not proud of it in any way, shape, or form, and feel certain that the Holy Spirit, through my conscience, will keep me from doing it again.
The day I made the hospital visit, I went to the waiting room for a few minutes to pray with my friend’s friends.
While waiting on them to arrive, I noticed a lady across from me, who was also waiting. She was wearing shorts in 19 degree weather, tennis shoes, and a coat. I found this an odd ensemble but I also remembered it was none of my business, nor should I judge. Therefore, I steered my thoughts different ways.
After a few minutes she began talking to no one in particular.
“I don’t know why it is taking so long. How long does it take to prep someone for surgery?”
I wasn’t sure if it was rhetorical or if she expected an answer, so I kept my head down, answering emails from my phone.
After a few minutes she asked again.
I decided perhaps she did want an answer, so I tried with my very limited medical knowledge to explain that it takes awhile to get them prepped for surgery, then to administer the anesthesia, and actually “begin.” That they are very intentional about this process and I’m certain it was normal procedure.
I started working again, hoping my answer would suffice.
Then she asked again.
It was in that moment that I noticed that perhaps she might have some challenges. I inwardly scolded myself for not noticing sooner . . . her questions, the mismatched clothes, their inappropriate nature for the frigid weather, and her uncertainty in the room/space.
Then she asked again.
No one around answered . . . everyone looking down, not really knowing what to do.
And she asked again.
Then I began to argue with God – also known as prayer . . .
“God, are you expecting me to do something right now? I have tried to be of assistance . . . I answered her questions, I have smiled and shrugged at her when the answer wasn’t enough . . . I don’t know what you want me to do. And by the way God, I’m pretty sad right now . . . I am worried about my friend. I don’t really have the emotional energy to provide pastoral care for someone I do not know . . . so I am going to assume that you are not asking that of me.”
And she asked again.
Another lady got up, went over and sat with the lady . . . pointing her to the screen. She explained how it would change colors once the surgery started, so all she needed to do was watch the screen. After that, the lady’s eyes lit up, her face beamed, and she found peace.
And my mind said, “Whatever you do to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you do also to me.”
Part of our journey with God is to intercede on the behalf of others. To surround them with the same love, compassion, and grace extended to all through the Love of God as expressed through the person of Jesus Christ.
I missed an opportunity to offer a prayer of compassion for what Jesus would have noted as a “least of these.” Someone alone . . . needing some guidance . . . I was too blind and self-absorbed to see.
“Please, God, grant her peace” could have become, “Peace be with you” or “May God’s strength surround you.”
It was a missed opportunity but one from which I learned a great deal.
Thought to Ponder:
Today – who is it that you can offer a prayer of compassion to them directly? Not just pray to God, but share with them you are praying for them.
Matthew 25:31-46The Message (MSG)
The Sheep and the Goats
31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’
45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’
46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”