Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:18 NLT
I can’t stand shopping. This truth may have just sounded a concerning consumer alarm for some, but it’s just not an activity that I enjoy. Because of this, it is rare that I buy new clothes.
Don’t get me wrong, if someone were to show up on my doorstep with custom tailored outfits perfectly picked out for my size and style, I'm not going to say, “No thanks.” But this is not a situation I have ever run into. Consequently, I wear clothes until they are worn-out.
It’s the same with my shoes. Last summer I relied on one pair of sneakers and one pair of flip flops that were already several years old. Just because the flip flop thong between my toes was starting to let loose, that did not mean that I was ready to let go. Because that would have required shopping for new ones—ugh! For two weeks that strap was dangling by threads like a loose front tooth on a first grader. I thought it could just hang on for a few more weeks. I was wrong.
As I walked up the stairs to get my daughter from her Sunday school class, I accidentally tripped. Immediately I could feel my entire left foot travel right through the front of my dilapidated flip flop. This was clearly beyond repair. Trying to keep my dignity intact, I continued the journey up the stairs with my right flip flop on my foot and the broken left one in my hand.
The moment my daughter saw me, she looked down at my bare foot with concern and said, “Oh no Mommy! It finally broke.” What happened next just melted my heart . . .As a nine-year-old, my situation could have easily embarrassed her. Who wants a parent showing up in front of their peers—barefoot—holding a broken shoe in hand? But instead of hiding, she took off her fourth-grade sized flip flop and handed it to me to put on my foot. A precious thought from a big heart, but a shoe that was about five sizes too small for me.
When my daughter saw that I could not fit into her brilliant rescue plan, she empathetically did the next best thing. She took back her left flip flop and held it in her hand. This way I would not feel alone or embarrassed by myself. If I had to walk with one shoe on and one shoe off, she was going to do the same thing. And so, side-by-side, we exited the building—together—walking unevenly on the pavement all the way to the car.
My daughter has told me many times with words that she loves me, but her actions that day spoke much louder to my heart. This flip-flop fiasco occurred last summer . . . and yet this simple loving gesture continues to stick with me today.
Kind actions are powerful. What can you DO today to SHOW someone that you LOVE them?
Dear Lord, Help us to empathize with those around us. Stir compassion in our hearts and empower us to show inward love for others through kind outward actions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.