2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of
the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am
coming, another steppeth down before me. 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went,
they were cleansed.
I was in a fast food restaurant the other morning when God gave me a devotion. I didn't really
realize at the time that was what was happening, though. I took my five-year-old granddaughter
to Hardee's for breakfast and as we were going to our table a very loud voice said, "Good morning."
I looked down and there sat a very large young man with a Coke smiling up at me. I smiled back
at him and said, "Good morning." His smile grew even bigger. He had on a shirt with
"Hardee's" written on it and I
could tell his IQ wasn't very high but, even though it was raining outside, his face seemed to
light up the room. He said, "You are a very pretty lady." I said, "Why, thank you.
What a nice thing to say." We found a table and sat down to eat. About ten minutes later
this young man approached us and laid a shiny quarter on our table. He said, "I found this on
the floor. I looked all around trying to decided who to give it to and I thought the nice,
pretty lady and the cute little girl should have it." I thanked him for the quarter and told him
that was very sweet of him. He went away whistling. I noticed while we were there that most of
the other customers turned away from this delightful young man. I don't know if their rejection
was from repulsion or fear of the unknown but I do know that it must have hurt him deeply. He
could not help being different. His voice, like his body was big and his speech was not very
plain but he had a heart of gold. When I returned home that day, the following story was waiting
for me in my email. Coincidence? I don't think so.
A story is told about a soldier who was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam. He called his parents from San Francisco.
"Mom and Dad, I'm coming home, but I've a favor to ask. I have a friend I'd like to bring home with me." "Sure," they replied, "we'd love to meet him."
"There's something you should know the son continued, "he was hurt pretty badly in the fighting. He stepped on a land mind and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go, and I want him to come live with us."
"I'm sorry to hear that, son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live."
"No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us."
"Son," said the father, "you don't know what you're asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we can't let something like this interfere with our lives. I think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He'll find a way to live on his own."
At that point, the son hung up the phone.
The parents heard nothing more from him.
A few days later, however, they received a call from the San Francisco police. Their son had died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide.
The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body. They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn't know, their son had only one arm and one leg.
The parents in this story are like many of us. We find it easy to love those who are good-looking or fun to have around, but we don't like people who inconvenience us or make us feel uncomfortable.
We would rather stay away from people who aren't as healthy, beautiful, or smart as we are. Thankfully, there's someone who won't ever treat us that way. Someone who loves us with an unconditional love that welcomes us into the forever family, regardless of how messed up we are.
Tonight, before you tuck yourself in for the night, say a little prayer that God will give you the strength you need to accept people as they are, and to help us all be more understanding of those who are different from us!!!
As I read that story, I couldn't help but wonder if maybe God places people like the young man
at Hardee's in our paths sometimes as a test. I passed that one but I'm afraid I've been guilty
of failing a few when I was younger.
Jesus always stopped to help the unfortunate. He helped the blind, the impotent, the lepers
and just about anyone else who crossed His path. I'm not suggesting we can actually help everyone
who is needy around us. There is almost always someone standing with a sign at one of the traffic lights
where I frequently exit the freeway but I don't always give them money. I'm not even suggesting
that you speak to everyone you see who is "different". Just don't turn away from them in
disgust. Don't treat them differently. When someone in a wheelchair is in the grocery store and
trying to reach something on a high shelf, offer to help. When someone who is a little different
speaks to you or smiles at you it won't kill you to smile back at them. God made them the way
they are and He loves them, you must too! They are His creation and He expects you to!
I OFTEN CARRY A QUARTER IN MY POCKET
TO REMIND ME TO BE CAREFUL OF
MY ATTITUDE TOWARD OTHERS!
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