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  • Heidi J. Smith

Jabbing, Judging, or Exhorting


Photo credit to Qijin Xu from Unsplash

"Is it a snake?" I questioned.


"No, it is a frightened chipmunk," the boys chorused.


Peering into the window well, I saw the tiny creature scampering around the dirt perimeter. Scratching sounds echoed off the metal sides as it tried to climb the slippery slope, but gravity won as it slid down and continued circling.


After laughing and watching for a few minutes, the boys rescued the striped rodent by extending a long drain pipe. It hid inside, while the boys lifted it out of the hole. Setting the chipmunk carefully on the grass, it darted up the oak tree.


Have you noticed someone trapped in a pit like the chipmunk, or maybe you have been there? I have.


Despair and doubt overshadow everything, while failed attempts rain discouragement. Thoughts swirl. Does anyone care? Who will help? Am I the only one?


When I am hurting, I desire compassion and encouragement. I need a friend pointing me to Jesus. But when others are hurting, I judge. Even though I don't know all the circumstances, I jab and jeer. I wonder, why can't you hurry up and get over it? Maybe you deserve this for your prior actions.


Yet, God calls Christians to help.


"And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all."

I Thessalonians 5:14-15 ESV


Jesus loving reaches down and rescues us. How then can we not help others?


By putting ourselves in their shoes, empathy wins. We know the roles could be reversed. Kindness flows as we focus on God's continued faithfulness to us.


Lord, give us eyes to see the hurting, ears to hear the discouraged, lips to warn and encourage, and arms to help. May we not criticize, but fill us with compassion. May we look for opportunities to assist others like the boys rescuing the chipmunk.







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Heidi J. Smith