Growing up I heard people say if you’re going to live in the United States then speak English. I get that logic, but from a different perspective. When we lived overseas it was important for us to learn the language of our host country. Important isn’t a strong enough word, it was vital. It was vital for us to shop, do business, make friends, attend church, lead Bible studies, work, etc. Without learning the language we couldn’t be beneficial to anyone, including ourselves. Learning the language was hard for us, easy for our kids, hard for us parents. We messed words up, got laughed at, struggled to communicate what we wanted to say, but most of all, we were shown grace. People were eager to help us learn their language and if we were somewhere struggling there was always someone that came along us to help us.
The other day I was running errands and I was at a store where you had to get your receipt checked at the door. There was quite a long line and as I stood there I realized there was a lady in the front that didn’t have something that was on her receipt. The store clerk was explaining it to her but she didn’t understand what he was saying. He didn’t slow his speech or try to re-word what he wanted to say, but instead he started yelling what he wanted to say. He clearly was getting frustrated because at one point he yelled and degraded her for not speaking English. My heart broke right there. As I passed by I paused to hear what language she was speaking to see if I could help her. I didn’t know her language and debated trying to come alongside her to assist. The store employee was agitated, she was agitated and there was a huge line of people and I was pushed along out the doors. I debated going back in to help her, but I wasn’t sure what I could do. Looking back, I should’ve done something. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t do something. I’m ashamed that I passed her.
We don’t know her story, she could’ve just recently gotten here and is only starting to learn English. I feel so convicted I didn’t help her that I will not pass by another situation like that one. We need to ask God to open our eyes to the people around us that need help. We can get so busy with our own tasks we don’t realize the world around us. People are important, and most times, tasks can wait.
I share this story because I hope someone else will not pass by a situation like that one. Let’s open our eyes to the world around us and be willing to step in for others. Let’s love the way Jesus loves. I’m reading through Matthew right now and there are so many times that he stops to help someone despite the pleas of his disciples to keep going. I want to be more like Jesus and see the people around me no matter what I am doing.