A few weeks back while trying to zip through a grocery store line after work, my daughter Joy and I were both stopped in our tracks by a little boy who was beyond upset.
Before having my daughter, my first thought, if I may be completely honest here, would have been “man, that kid is throwing one heck of a temper tantrum.”
But now, with my 2-year-old in my arms, I knew his crying was that of a distraught little boy.
You try not to look when something is going on like that, at least I’ve learned not to. The mother of the screaming child is already highly embarrassed, and she wants to do nothing more than finish paying for her stuff and get the heck out of the store. So anyone staring at her, or making comments out loud, doesn’t help the matter one bit.
As I was finishing up paying for our stuff, I could heard this lady making some rather rude comments about the situation. It broke my heart to hear those comments and to realize that in this world people have lost a ton of compassion for one another.
Joy was highly concerned about the situation; she notices things and wants to know what is going on. I kept telling her that he was OK, and she would look at me and then look at the little boy. As we were loading up the car, I heard the little boy coming out of the store and the mom was trying her best to calm him down.
There are a million things I wish I would have done now to help her out. On the way home I was thinking to myself, I should have offered to walk out with her and take care of her groceries so that she could have gotten her son in the car. But I didn’t, and I’ve thought about that situation almost every day since it happened.
To be honest, I believe the little boy was a special-needs child. I don’t know for that for sure, and it really doesn’t matter because it all comes down to this — out of all of the people in that store, not one of us bothered to help her.
I mean, listen, there are times when a kid is really just all out throwing a fit in the store, we all know that and some of us have been there. But there are times when you know the situation is just different, and this was one of those times.
Either way, the old saying pops in my head, “What would Jesus do?”
When I think about the should-haves and the could-haves in that particular situation, none of that matters now because the time to help has passed. But I hope that if a situation like that comes up again, I’ll be prepared to know how to help.
The absolute best thing we can do for people is show them the same kind of compassion and grace that Jesus has shown all of us.
There have been times in my life that I’ve needed some compassion, and it has been given to me and I’m so grateful for those who showed me some grace in those crazy times in my life.
The bottom line is this: we need to do a whole lot less judging, in all areas our lives, and be a whole lot more graceful to folks with whom we come in contact.
You absolutely never know what situation someone has just come through when you cross paths with them, but I guarantee you that some day you’ll need someone to show you some grace as well.
Oh how I’m so incredibly thankful I serve a Savior who saved a wretch like me. His grace is sufficient for me.
Julie Wells is the editorial assistant in the newsroom at the Rockdale Citizen. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.