Danny bags groceries at the Kroger we shop at every week. He’s in his 30s and has a disability where he speaks and walks slowly. A few months ago I decided that I wanted to help show my two-year-old John that people like Danny are to be acknowledged and treated just like anyone else, no matter if they look or act differently.
So, I would whisper into John’s little ear: “Can you say hi to Danny, John?”
“Hi, Danny!” he would say and Danny would smile.
One day we had two carts of groceries to haul out and John told me he wanted Danny to push the cart he was sitting in. Not Momma. It was precious. Danny took the cart and John was absolutely delighted.
Yesterday, as soon as we got to Kroger, John asked where Danny was and I thought to myself:
John gets it
I realize the innocence in John’s heart. He sees the world in a lens that my tainted eyes do not see. He is a child and doesn’t fully understand the differences in people, but I believe he comprehends more than I think. He has a unique sensitivity towards Danny that is convicting.
The truth is that “Danny’s” are everywhere. God has been really impressing upon my heart to be intentional about loving people who are different than me and who I wouldn’t naturally start up a conversation with or even hang out with. He is teaching me about compassion and mercy.
People, no matter their race, differences, or disabilities deserve to be loved because they are created in the image of God. And as a Christian, I’ve been called to love all people, especially the unlovable.
I have to admit that I struggle at times with elevating myself or judging someone based on external appearances. And I know that it’s not only shallow, but it’s sinful. I’ve been moved by the verse:
How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. – Luke 6:42
This verse has not only challenged me when it comes to watching my judgmental thoughts towards people, but it has shown me that I have my own set of issues, habits, quirks, inconsistencies, disabilities and more. They might not be so obvious, but they still exist. Most of all, I’m learning about my own brokenness and God’s perfection.
Through a process, and I mean process, God is helping me to get the big, fat plank out of my own eye. Did I mention it’s big? He’s continuing to use people like Danny to teach me some big truths about the meaning of love.
The innocence and purity I get to see in John’s heart is what I need desperately and I’m willing to let God really mess with me so that I’ll truly love people for who they are. Plain and simple.
Has anyone stumbled upon your path that you need to love unconditionally? Do you have a “Danny” story?
* Name changed to Danny to protect privacy