“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” –Matthew 25:37-40
When I was in second grade, I moved to a new school. This was my second move during the same year. On my first day at my new school, I had several new experiences. Ironically, the worst part of my first day turned out to be the BEST.
When it came time for P.E., one of my classmates told me that students who didn’t participate in the activities got in big trouble. I knew I was doomed when I walked into the gym and thousands (well, not really, but it seemed like it) of second graders were jump roping! This was a skill I had not yet mastered! I immediately burst into tears! I didn’t know how to jump rope and was sure to get in “BIG” trouble. I stood there with tears pouring for what seemed like an eternity. Then, the adult in charge, better known as “coach” came to see what was wrong with me. I blubbered through heaves that I didn’t know how to jump rope. Then he did something that I totally didn’t expect, he hugged me.
I still remember that hug, my tears soaked the shoulder of his red satin jacket (hey, it was the 80s). After he hugged me, he explained that it was O.K. that I couldn’t jump rope and that he would teach me. What a relief! Instantly, a bond was formed with “coach” that still exists today. Coach would later be my Jr. High basketball coach as well as my all-time favorite history and government teacher in high school. Coach continues to make a difference in the lives of the students he works with. He is a special person who is a true witness of the Gospel.
I share this story because I believe that it illustrates the power of love. Coach not only taught me how to jump rope, he taught me that when you show love and mercy to others, you make an impression that lasts a lifetime. As Christians, I honestly believe that we are called upon to show love and mercy to everyone we encounter. It is not always an easy task. I know that when we show love and mercy, we make a deep connection with others and we set an example for them.