For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
John 8:7 NIV
“Father,” I complained, “listen to that mother screaming at her children.”
“Have you walked in that tired mother’s shoes? Were you divorced when your children were young? Did you face the necessity of earning a living in order to survive? To have money for food and rent—forget the luxuries that you take for granted?” he answered.
“No, Father, I guess not.”
“Then, my child, have you room to criticize?”
“Father, listen to that old woman babbling on and on. I’ve heard that story over and over. I’m sure I could repeat it word for word.”
“My child, have you been aged, alone, and tucked away in a nursing home neglected by your children? Have you sat hour by hour, day by day waiting for the letter that never arrives or the visitor who never comes?”
“No, Father, I haven’t.”
“Then you haven’t walked in that lonely mother’s shoes.”
As I travel the road of life—sometimes racing through time in jogging shoes, sometimes clogging along shod in work boots, I come in contact with people. Some are screamers, others complainers. Alcohol or drugs are constant companions to many. Others puff constantly on cigarettes. Some overeat to the point of gluttony, trying to satisfy a nameless hunger in their lives. Obscenities fill the vocabularies of many of my fellow travelers. Others are promiscuous.
I take notice of these and it is then, I remind my Father of all “those sinful people” surrounding me. He listens to my self-righteous grumblings and then quietly asks, “My child, have you walked in their shoes?”
Most of those times, I have to contritely confess, “No, Father, I haven’t. Please forgive me.”
I may tiptoe through life barefoot, slosh through in rain boots, dance my way in airy sandals, but until I walk in my fellow traveler’s shoes, I am not qualified to criticize.
When you find yourself holding the stone, ask yourself, “Am I free to cast this?”
(Photo courtesy of morguefile and FantasiaCelestial.)
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Norma C. Mezoe strives to be a Barnabas in her writing and in her living. Norma has been a published writer for thirty years and has written for magazines, devotionals, and S.S. literature. She is active in her small church as clerk, teacher, and bulletin maker. Norma may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.