Several weeks ago my husband asked our 17 year old son, Will, to call the dog in for the night. Will pressed the button to raise the electric garage door and began whistling and yelling, “Buddy, Buddy, come on Buddy.” It was an extra dark, moonless night. But with a dim garage light, Will could see Buddy pacing back and forth in front of the garage door and he could hear him barking loudly too. So he couldn’t understand why he just continued to pace without coming in. He continued to whistle and call his name for 3-4 more minutes.
Suspecting something could be wrong Will called to his Dad.
“Dad,” he said, “I need your help. I don’t know why Buddy won’t come inside. He just keeps pacing back and forth in front of the garage.”
After getting a good look, Dad’s expression turned from quizzical to shock. Then he said, “I’ll tell ya why. That’s not Buddy…that’s a bear!”
Yes, Buddy was around the corner of the house barking at the bear. Maybe he was trying to alert Will…or perhaps he was trying to distract him so he wouldn’t move any further into the bear’s territory.
Shock gave way to laughter, as bear sightings are a normal occurrence in our neighborhood.
It was dark, I’ll give ya that. But on this mom’s mind was the same ol’ thought I’ve had a hundred times before: Put on your glasses, Will.
No, things aren’t always what they seem.
It’s that way with people too. People aren’t always what they appear to be on the outside. Maybe you can relate to these experiences: You pass a woman walking down the hall and she refuses to look at you or even smile. Her blatant disregard for you leaves you feeling devalued or inferior as if you weren’t even there. And for sure you label her as unfriendly.
Or perhaps another woman sitting close to you refuses to engage in conversation. In your mind you hear yourself saying what a snob!
But what if none of this is true? Sometimes we mistakenly judge people as rude, unfriendly, or arrogant when they snub us or refuse to engage in conversation or smile.
But what if they are, rather, shy, embarrassed, lack the needed self-confidence to initiate a chat, or just too overwhelmed with personal problems to notice. They may be sad, not mean or mad.
I’ll admit those aren’t always my first thoughts.
When we read 1 Samuel 16:7b we learn “that the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Hum… I do that sometimes…look at the outside.
So I made a mental note to myself to put on my spiritual glasses and look at the hearts of people.
Hey…let’s do this together! Will you join me?
Today many of us will go out—out to the grocery store, the bank, shopping, to the doctor’s office, or to work. Let’s put on our spiritual glasses and genuinely peer into the hearts of those with whom we come in contact. Here’s what we can do:
- Start with the right attitude and assume the best in people
- Be kind… first
- Smile… first
- Say hello… first
- Start a conversation… first
- Or give someone a hand.
Let’s not be a bear! When we acknowledge others, no matter in how small a way, we show them they are worthwhile because they are noticed. We may end up being the inspiration a person needs to get through the day or to change the way they see themselves.
Come on… we can do this. Let’s make today a great day!
Written by Debbie Presnell
Written August 2013