The kitten had gotten separated from its mother a few days earlier. Alone and fearful, wanting to protect itself from the elements, the kitten found a hiding place under the planks of a porch. In the dark the kitten shivered from the cold and began to hurt for lack of food or water. The only thought the kitten had was to cry out and hope its mother would hear and come to comfort. Mewing as loudly as it could for hours on end it would eventually tire and sleep from exhaustion. Upon waking the kitten began again to mew but grew weaker.
Looking out at the lighted area the kitten saw a small bowl and even smelled food and water. Remembering what its mother had taught, the kitten refused to leave the hiding place for fear of being hurt. A face appeared in the lighted area and made sounds that echoed like its mother but the kitten knew it wasn’t her. Soon a hand was extended and the kitten became terrified, lashing back at the hand with its tiny claws and hissing emphatically. After drawing blood from the hand, it withdrew, and the kitten felt safe momentarily but even closer to collapsing from hunger and thirst.
With no more energy to call for its mother the kitten lay still. The hand returned, but this time seemed to be covered somehow. Weak as the kitten was, it fought off the hand until its muscles could no longer move. Feeling the hand wrap around its tiny body the kitten knew it was finished for this life, its mother had said so.
Years later, lying in the sun on top of the porch, the cat yawned and cleaned itself. Now and again it would think back to the time it hid under the porch in darkness, frightened and starving. That life was definitely finished. The cat loved when the hand would come to pet its fur. Getting up the cat lapped fresh water and ate a bountiful feast.
Psalm 18:35 You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great
The woman got up early to make coffee and read. As she sat at her kitchen table she saw her bible still sitting where she’d laid it down the week before. Momentarily she thought about trying to read it but with coffee in hand she went to the front door to gather the newspaper from the porch. An hour later after reading all the print she wanted, she began to ready herself for church.
Dressing in her best suit she decided to add a small flower to her lapel. Inwardly she felt lonely and hoped the added touch would draw enough attention that maybe she could make a new friend. Picking up her purse she made sure to pick up the bible before walking out the door.
Coming home later she put her bible back on the table and went to change her clothes. Afterwards she picked up the flower and looked at it closely. It was so pretty but no one seemed to notice and her heart ached with loneliness. Why wouldn’t anyone really talk to her beyond just pleasantries? She had gone to church to make friends.
Taking her flower into the kitchen she put it in a small vase sitting on her kitchen table. Seeing her bible next to it she wondered about something she’d heard in the hymn from that morning. It spoke of having a friend in Jesus and taking it to the Lord in prayer. Sitting down at the table she closed her eyes and spoke a simple sentence, “Jesus, I am lonely and I want friends.” In the quiet she knew she heard a whispered answer. “I AM here, spend time with Me.”
Opening her eyes the first thing she saw was her bible. Reaching for it she let her tears drop onto its cover and opening the pages she began to read.
Hypocrisy in meaning is a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles. It also means a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude. Pretense is simply feigning, make-believe, pretend or a false show of something.
I cannot live a life of hypocrisy nor can I pretend to be something I am not. I am one of the most flawed people upon the planet. My virtuous character is best described in that I don’t try to eat grapes in the store when I haven’t paid for them yet. My moral, beliefs and principles I keep learning from the bible I read. The more I look at people around me, the more I realize how open I need to be. I don’t want anyone looking at me for their barometer. I am not Paul of the epistles. I am Debra the flawed.
Only Jesus can be our measure of character. He alone knew we couldn’t bear up under the burden to be perfect. He gave us His life so we wouldn’t have to be hypocrites. The rest is simple. In our flawed state we give grace to others, remembering how much we too need this precious gift.
Col 3:13 Make allowances for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others
Rom 15:1 We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.
Eph 4:2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love
I don’t like what I see in that one over there. I don’t like what I hear in the one speaking next to me. And that one across from me doesn’t look right at all. Why is he laughing too much? Why is she shaking like that? That other guy seems to know it all whenever he gets up to talk. If that woman comes to ask me one more time to how I feel I may run away screaming. The woman who just wants to hug me makes me uncomfortable. What about the guy who seems too jovial or that other guy doesn’t speak at all?
Here is what the LORD says: A cluster of grapes that produces wine is worth keeping! So, because of my servants, I won’t destroy everyone. (CEV Isa 65:8)
Tongue in cheek perhaps, but still a worthwhile observation. We need each other very much to make a great wine for the world to partake of.
He held his hat upside down in his hand, feeling the hunger of his belly. One by one the cars drove past him and still he smiled. Inwardly he knew what they must think. He was too lazy to work, he preferred drugs or alcohol, or perhaps he was touched in the head, unacceptable in social circles. Taking a deep breath he again asked for strength beyond this circumstance. Hours passed and he nursed a small bottle of water at his feet. Few persons saw him with eyes of love. Some dropped coins into his head covering out of an obligation to teach their small children buckled in the backseats how to pity the poor. Still he smiled. There were some who taunted him to chase the bills held out of their hands. He did the chase too and smiled while they made a game of it. Hearing their cruel laughter he’d do his best to keep up with the vehicle as it drove faster with a hand holding money at arm’s length. When they were willing to give up the bills he smiled, but even when they only wanted to amuse themselves he shared his smile.
Staying as long as he could, it was time, and he was needed elsewhere. When his water bottle emptied he’d put any coins or bills into his pocket and once more turn the hat upright for covering. With night falling he’d walk up to the top of a small hill nearby, his belly still growling with hunger. Garbage lay strewn all about from other homeless souls, but he enjoyed the aged limbs of an olive tree set over this small valley. Emptying his pockets he spoke aloud, “all for You”.
Looking up he smiled.
Matthew 25:40-45 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and: sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’