A while back, a new store opened up where Morrison’s bookstore used to be on E. High St. called the “Prissy Peach.” Now I haven’t been in it, but it looks to be a ladies clothing store. Not long after it opened, we were driving by on our way to Park and Madison said, “look, the pricey peach.” We corrected her gently. But I totally understand how she got to pricey peach. They have been around me plenty of times where I have called things too pricey or expensive. I like to think I’m frugal, but I’m probably just cheap. And so Madison just saw what she knew I would call it. That’s my girl.
It probably isn’t fair of me or Madison to label a store before we actually go in and see it, but we all do it at times. Maybe it isn’t with a store, but sometimes it is with people, or sometimes with apartment buildings, or sometimes with group gatherings, or so many other places. Maybe it is individuals we see on the street, see in our office, see at the store, see in line to go somewhere or do something. The truth is we don’t really know much about them and we surely don’t know their whole story.
There are different scriptures that we could point to that tell us this. The easy one would be the story of Samuel anointing David King. Remember God’s words to Samuel, “man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) We could think about Jesus’ response when He saw the crowd coming after Him. In Mark, it is before He feeds the 5,000. It says “had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” (Mark 6:34) But one of my favorites would be when Jesus tells a woman “don’t cry” and then reaches out and touches the casket with her dead son (only son) in it and tells him to get up. And he does. (Luke 7:11-15) Think of all that Jesus must have known about the Mother. By the way, did I mention she was a widow? At this point, her life was going to be hard. She had no husband and now, no son. Life just got difficult if it wasn’t already. Doable, but difficult. And so Jesus, seeing more than just a funeral march, saw a grieving widow and mother, and He did what Jesus does.
So next time you go by a person, a place or a group, let’s not presume to know the story. One moment in time doesn’t tell a story. It just shows a glimpse. Let us have eyes of compassion and ears to hear. All people are image bearers of God and His heart hurts for us all and He desires life for us all. So let me remind us of the lesson from James, because it could be useful here. Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)
Who knows maybe it is a pricey peach, but I really should go and check it out before I make that call. And maybe I should be asking about someone’s story instead of just making one up in my mind to fit the moment in time I see.
Because of Him,
Rev. Lynn Beach is married to his college sweetheart, Michelle, and they have two adorable daughters. He has been at Park Church since July 2013.