The other day, I came home from work at dinnertime, and as I walked up the steps of my house, I noticed there were four guys and one female sitting on the front porch of the house next door. I was familiar with the group – not to mention a little uneasy with them. I had seen them carrying skateboards and kung fu swords, and I had reflexively made a negative assessment of them (go figure).
I sat down to dinner with my two daughters and my mother-in-law, and through the large window pane in the door next to my dining room table, I could see the people on the porch and hear them loudly laughing and talking. And I hate to say this, but I could feel myself wishing they would go away so I could just enjoy eating with my family. I didn’t like that feeling, so I decided to push back against it.
My mother-in-law and daughters baked cookies before dinner, so when I finished my meal, I went to the kitchen, made a plate of cookies, and announced that I was taking it to the kung fu people.
“I want to go!” said my oldest daughter, taking the plate.
“Me too!” said my youngest daughter.
Before we walked out the door, I prayed with my mother-in-law and asked God to use the cookies to open up a place of innocence in the hearts of the group, and then I headed across the lawn.
When I was halfway over, one of the guys started nervously saying, “Dude, dude – something’s up.” But then my daughters and I stepped on the front porch, and my usually-shy four-year-old declared with a smile, “We brought you cookies!” and began distributing them to each person.
“You are so beautiful,” said the female member of the group.
Then a guy who introduced himself as Mark sheepishly said, “You’re not going to believe this, but today is my birthday.”
“Really?” I said, “well, alright girls, let’s sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Mr. Mark.” And then we all joined in singing as Mark smiled and repeatedly said, “This is so random.”
We all laughed and said goodbye, but before I left, I told Mark that Jesus wanted to remember his birthday, so He had sent two little girls over to celebrate it.
Open the Door
The whole experience was a reminder of how important it is to take the simple step of making contact with people who are different because of their social circles, looks, religion, or kung fu fighting skills.
When we do that, we’re humbling ourselves and recognizing that our assumptions about others might not be based in reality. And more importantly, when we do that, we’re opening the door for God to love people through us in ways that wouldn’t have been possible if we had kept to ourselves.