For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”~Galatians 5:14 NKJV
A loud crash, followed by shattering glass, came from a nearby aisle.
My friend, Gina, rushed to the site and found a crowd of people whispering to each other as they watched an older woman kneel amidst the broken items that had fallen from the shelf. Flushed, the woman frantically picked up the fragments while the onlookers gawked. Gina pushed through the crowd, knelt beside the woman, told her not to worry, and helped her collect the broken pieces.
Shortly, the store manager arrived. He kneeled and told them not to worry about the mess. They would clean it up. The older woman struggled to lift her eyes but offered to pay for the damage. The manager gave a warm smile and helped her up.
“No ma’am, we have insurance to cover this. You don’t have to pay for anything.”
When my friend first shared this experience, it broke my heart, but then I became angry at the spectators who salted this woman’s wounded vulnerability with their lack of regard. I pictured myself feeling anxious and embarrassed, and thanked God one person had the courage to walk the path of love.
“Treat younger men as brothers, elderly women as mothers, and younger women as sisters in all purity.”~1 Timothy 5:1-2 The Voice
I thought of Jesus who struggled to bear the cross’ weight. Spectators stood and watched him struggle. They mocked, cursed, and spat on the Son of God, but our heavenly Father provided a helper to lessen Jesus’ burden. Little did the onlookers know that the man they jeered at came to bear their sins so humanity could have a relationship with God.
Although we know little about Simon of Cyrene–the man randomly picked from the crowd to carry Jesus’ cross–the Bible suggests that the disciples later knew his sons, Alexander and Rufus (see Mark 15:21, Romans 16:13). I wonder if Simon’s sons came to faith by witnessing their father’s actions.
My friend became Simon to the older woman in the story by sharing her burden. Perhaps her random act of love also planted a seed in that woman’s heart or among some of the onlookers.
Jesus erased the penalty of our sins with His death and resurrection. In a manner of speaking, He became our insurance policy. Regardless of the damage we’ve done or might do, He paid the price and remembers our sins no more.
The next time you encounter someone in need, become their Simon.
Dear Lord, help me to feel compassion when I’m tempted to ignore, to love when I face persecution, and to sacrifice my time and efforts when I see a need. Direct my sights, my path, and my heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Copyright 2021: An Encouraging Embrace: Irene Wintermyer: All Rights Reserved