Friday, September 2, 2011

Ultimate Failure

Please watch this video before you read the rest of the post:
What would you do?

Well, I discovered what I would do as I was in New Orleans. I discovered that I would walk by, not making eye contact. I was more brave with my husband and would offer a smile, but my heart was gripped with the "what if they approach me?"

There is one instance in particular that is seared in my brain and heart forever now. When my husband was in meetings I was on my own. I was not comfortable at all on these streets without his presence beside me. So as I ventured out one day to get lunch I thought I would be brave enough to go past the Arby's that was right next to our hotel.

I ventured out, but I ventured out in fear. Trying not to make eye contact with anyone. (My shoulders sag now in defeat as I remember that I was to be strong and courageous.) There was one woman that was sitting up against a building shoeless. As I walked past she asked me for money for shoes. I kept walking as though I never heard her. I did not even acknowledge her existence.

How very cruel of me.

I could use the excuse that I was a woman alone on the streets of New Orleans following my husbands instructions to be careful... but that just doesn't seem to justify the situation in any way does it? I could use the excuse of email after email that claims that rapist and murderers and thieves use the "female in distress" tactic to lure in victims, but even this does not make me feel any better about my action... or rather my lack of action.

What I wished I would have done is to have sat down against the wall with this obviously broken woman and asked her what her story was. I wish I would have looked this woman in the eyes and showed her compassion. I wish I would have taken the time and opportunity to discover who she was. How did she end up her on this street, with no shoes, asking strangers for money?

Oh how I regret that I did not do this.

She asked for shoes... and I should have told her of the shoes of the gospel of peace.

"and having shod YOUR FEET
Ephesians 6:15 

Where were my beautiful feet?

"How will they preach unless they are sent?
Just as it is written,
Romans 10:15

Apparently my beautiful feet were left in the comfort zone of my hotel room. My feet were not beautiful at all on these streets of New Orleans. I left my room not with the prayer of  "God use me today to share your good news."  I left my room with the only thought of "God, let me get something to eat and make my way safely back to my room." 

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
Because the LORD has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD"
Isaiah 61:1-2

Is not the Spirit of the Lord within me so that I might bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and set the prisoner free? To proclaim to them that today is the day of salvation, that now is the favorable year of the Lord? Was this not what I was called to do as bond-servant of my Most High God? Oh, let the redeemed of the Lord say so!

Epic fail.

Ultimate failure.

So I return from New Orleans with a heavy heart and the ghost of a small voice that says, "Can you help me get some shoes?" I walk into the comfort of my home and the love of my family and the plenty that I have and am so very didisappointed in my lack of compassion and the fact that I let fear of danger control me and the fact that I know I did not shod my feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. I had not prepared my heart and mind to here this type of unction from my Lord because I left my room already planning not to make eye contact or address anyone. 

May I never fail in this way again.
May I never leave my house unprepared to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ again.

May God send someone to this woman to fix my failure, may she hear the good news from a truer bond-servant than I. May she know the freedom that Christ suffered to give her. May her feet be shod with the gospel of peace...
for mine certainly were not.  

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