Shame on Me

>> Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Sunday morning … and I was ready. I entered the church full of gratitude for all of God’s blessings … one of which was with me this morning. My daughter, Lorri, had been with us for Thanksgiving. I found a row toward the front of the church … saved a seat on the aisle for my husband, John, to sit in after he finished his ushering duties … and let Lorri go in the row first.  

As we stood to sing, a man took John’s place beside me. I didn’t realize I would have to put something on the seat to save it for John. I busied myself with asking Lorri to move over (luckily there is room for her to move down) and sliding my coat over one chair. Lorri … bless her heart … leaned over and said, “Mom, shouldn’t we say something to him?” As conviction washed over me, she reached around me and took his hand … welcoming him.  

For the first time since this whole scenario started, I looked at him. As we made eye contact, his words hit me like a brick.  

“Is this a problem? Should I move somewhere else?”  

Shame on me.  

I smiled … took his hand … and assured him all was well … at least between him and me. I wasn’t feeling too well in my soul. During our time of greeting, I discovered this was his first time at our church. I had been his first encounter.  

More shame on me.  

As I asked for forgiveness from God, I prayed for this man beside me … that he could get past me and enjoy his time at our church. At the end of the service, the Elders and their spouses go to the front of the church to be there if anyone needs prayer. As John and I walked to stand by the platform, I thought, How ironic. I’m up here to pray with others when I’m busy with my own failure. I didn’t make it back to my seat in time to say anything more to the man.  

But Lorri did. He was from the Mission … and did enjoy his time with us.  

Our church has a heart for the Mission. On Sunday morning we send a bus there to pick up the people who want to come. He had come on the bus … and gone to the mezzanine, watching the service on the screen up there. When he had decided it was safe enough, he had taken John’s seat.  

Shame on me.

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.

"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'” Matthew 25:35-40 (MSG)


melody-mae November 29, 2011 at 9:07 AM  

Wow. This was such an amazing post. As much as you feel convicted, I will tell you I have done this EXACT same husband is on the council and I am always trying to save his spot. I have felt this conviction and so this was a VERY good post for me to read. Thank you for writing it and Thank God for your sweet and loving daughter!

Joy Bach November 29, 2011 at 9:11 AM  

Thanks melody-mae, for your comments. I was just disgusted with myself. And yes, thankfully Lorri was there.

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