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  • Writer's pictureM.E. Collins


Dads and Moms, you want to set an example for your child or children?

We are always hustling and busting our tails to provide for ones we love, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, when the opportunity arises keep this story in mind. If your children see you do an act of kindness to another, you have to know idea the impact it will have on their lives. This story can also help you listen better to your child or children.

A typical Manhattan morning is noisy, crowded, and busy, and this day was no exception. Like the thousands of individuals, I shared the sidewalk with, I had somewhere to be and was running late. As I hurried down Fifth Avenue, I heard a noise that stood out from the rest. It is common to hear construction, honking, or even shouting, but this was different—someone was crying. Sobbing. I looked toward the noise and saw a homeless woman sitting to the side, back perched against a building, weeping. I kept walking.

I justified the decision. “I’m late,” I told myself, “Someone else will help her.” Despite my best efforts at self-persuasion, I made it only one block further before conviction grew too high. Returning to the woman, I began rummaging around in my purse. I hurriedly pulled some cash from my wallet, placed it in her cup, and tried to go on my way. Conviction surfaced again. I knew this was not the right response either. God was asking for something more from me.

At that moment, what I read and remembered from the pages of Scripture was surfacing, and it was clashing with my current demands and desires.

PAUSING TO LISTEN I paused to remember how Jesus encountered quite a few people in need while in route somewhere. How did he respond to the woman at the well? Are the disciples walking toward the village of Emmaus? What about blind Bartimaeus? While I wanted to hurry and leave, Jesus was eager to pause and listen.

Jesus’s command is clear: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). While Jesus loved others well in many ways, loving through listening was often his first move—and that day I knew it should be mine.

I knelt on the pavement next to the woman, looked her in the eye, and asked her, “Why are you crying?” I wanted to know what her tears meant. I wanted her to know that her story mattered. Instead of worrying about everything I could not do for this woman, I focused on what I could do. I knew I could follow Jesus’s lead and love her through listening.

We spent time talking about the difficulties she had encountered in life and the profound loneliness she was feeling that day. After twenty minutes of sharing her heart, we prayed together. When I opened my eyes after the prayer, I was so moved by the strength of this woman that I was the one crying, and she was the one smiling. “No one ever talks to me,” she said. I knew what she meant was, “No one ever listens to me.” And we all need to be heard.

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