March 20, 2020
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40
Many years ago, I was in the fifth grade. There was a boy in our class who was different. Most of the kids made fun of his name and his clothes and anything he did that was peculiar, which seemed to be most everything. I thought he was nice, and he was always nice to me.
One day on the school bus ride home, the kids who made fun of Albert started teasing me saying, “Kelley likes Albert. She’s the only one in the fifth grade that even talks to him. She must love him.” I remember feeling the heat rush to my face; I burned inside with humiliation. I didn’t know what to do. Everyone was looking at me, waiting for me to say something. I should have defended myself; I should have defended Albert. Instead, I denied my feelings for the boy in fifth grade who no one liked. And then, as soon as my cowardice was confirmed, Albert’s head rose from behind the seat at the back of the bus. Not only had a denied my friend, I did it in front of him.
When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, he ignored social considerations. He did not care what others would think of him. He ministered to her. He did what was right. When I think of Albert and that moment in time during the fifth grade, I wish I had followed Jesus’ example. In the years that followed, I prayed often about what I did, wishing desperately that I had the chance to do it over again. Over the course of my reflection, however, I realized what a gift I had been given at a young age. Through my mistake, God showed me how to love without regard to social etiquette; how to defend, support and encourage the least of us; and how to learn from mistakes by refusing to repeat them.
I think of Albert often. I’m thankful for his friendship, because even after what I did, he remained my friend.
Heavenly Father, help us remember the lessons you teach not only when we study Your word but also when You give us situations to choose between right and wrong. Be the whisper in our ear and the feeling we cannot ignore that urges us in the right direction.
About the Contributor:
Kelley Ashcraft is a member of Tyger River Presbyterian Church and currently serves as Clerk of Session; she also sings in the TRPC Praise Band.