|[Image by Jamelah]|
I am resilient, a thousand men can't make me cry. Nevertheless, as I take each new step in her shoes, tears threaten to pour out like broken waterfalls on a picturesque summer day.
She holds my hands and leads me to the place where her story begins, a run-down shack well hidden in the middle of the woods. The door creaks, and we step inside. One step in her shoes. She points to the remains of what was once a mattress and a pillow, both on the sandy floor. "Over there," she says, "is where I cuddled my three children for ten long years after their father died."
She also points to a big black pot, broken and hidden in the shadows. All of their meals were cooked in it, there were no other ones like it lying around. Some days they ate bread without soup or meat. Other days, they were lucky to find a small animal trapped outside, so that they had meat for a couple of days.
Her youngest girls died on the same day. "A nameless infectious disease," she called it, as if it meant nothing to her. In one swift motion my tears are released. She begs me not to cry, saying she'd already cried enough for both of us.
She'd left the shack the night that they died and were buried, clutching the last child like she would never let her go, only seven years old at the time. She swore not to let death snatch that one away, it was her fault what happened to the other two.
Today, I found her on the road between Pennsylvania and New York, wearing a black sleeveless top, a mini-skirt, fishnets, knee-length boots, and shoulder-length earrings. I watched her as she sashayed under the dim light of the moon, beckoning to cars passing by, especially the flashy ones with rich-looking young men. She looked like she was ready to sell her body for one more night. Although she never raised her hand to stop me, I willed my car to stop and lowered my windows. I asked her if she needed my help, and she replied, "Not until you've walked a mile in my shoes, young lady." And then I took a long walk in her shoes, following her lead.
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Many times, we want to be the first to criticize others. We want to point fingers, without first walking a mile in their shoes. But all God wants us to do is to show love and compassion, not to criticize. He's right there, waiting for sinners to run back into His arms. He's right there waiting for the sons of God to embrace the world and show them the right way to get life, wealth, health, and all other good things from the Giver of life, especially when they try to get these things through sinful means. Sometimes, if we think about where a person is coming from, we would be less prone to pointing fingers too quickly.
"Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Words of Jesus, Luke 6:37
"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin." Romans 4:7-8
"God makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust." Matthew 5:45
"There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3: 10
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Romans 3: 23-24
"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion." Romans 12: 15-16
Question for the Day: Have you ever walked a mile in a sinner's shoes?