“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Col. 3:12-17
One day while walking my wheelchair dogs in New York City I came across a warning and message from God in the form of a stranger who was broken hearted over something I was doing.
“Slow down with those dogs!” he essentially exclaimed. “Don’t you see?” he said. “Look at them!” His face showed he was grieving over something I was doing that I hadn’t even noticed because I was so caught up in myself and whatever I was thinking as I walked down the street with dogs in tow.
Due to the narrow and crowded streets, I walk pulling paralyzed Mr. Simeon with paralyzed Miss Mercy walking behind Mr. Simeon slightly off to the side with her leash attached to his chair. I was looking forward as I walked not paying attention to what I was doing which the man had noticed. I was walking too fast!
Mr. Simeon as always was prancing like a horse with his slightly hobbling not-as-strong-as-they-used-to-be and slightly painful legs despite his medication, and Miss Mercy was panting a pretty good bit. They both needed to walk slower, but I was too self-absorbed to see. I started to defend myself to the man, but he was so very sad because he felt bad for the dogs. The dogs, who truthfully really weren’t in any kind of distress but could have afforded to slow down, made the man sad. Little did I know what message the Lord would give me – and you.
Years ago, long before I knew the Lord Jesus Christ, when I was a girl, when my beautiful grandparents were elderly, I would walk with them far too fast. I would not slow down for them. I was too sickeningly selfish to care they couldn’t walk as fast as I could. The Lord has brought me an extraordinarily long way through the years and given me an astounding beautiful and remarkable sensitivity to people to the point I sometimes can’t believe the love, patience, compassion, mercy, and kindness and thoughtfulness He gives me for people for which He gets all the glory, but I still have my bouts of “going too fast” and “needing to slow down” because I am neglecting to consider others including the fact they may not be able to “walk as fast” as I can.
Friend, this isn’t about wheelchair dogs or grandparents from long ago. It’s about the fact Christ’s love when we allow it to pour through us means we need to be ever conscious of and considerate of and compassionate with others, and that instead of rushing along self-absorbed we need to slow down and show kindness and grace and give of ourselves to those around us who perhaps aren’t walking at our same speed.
I am more careful now when I walk my wheelchair dogs. I truly meant them no harm that day, but I needed the reminder from God to not be self-consumed but to be Christ-consumed and sensitive toward and considerate of and loving toward the world around me.
I believe we all need this reminder. Instead of rushing ahead consumed with ourselves, let’s turn our attention to Jesus, to God’s Word, and to a world in need of hearing of Him and seeing His love in action. Let us be led by the Spirit of God – going His pace, walking in His love, all for His glory!