“The poor is hated even of his own neighbor: but the rich hath many friends. He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.” (Proverbs 14:20~21)
“Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus.” (2nd Corinthians 7:6)
Upon renting a small house in Matsuida Town on August 1st, 1978, I immediately moved into it. At that time, I had no motor vehicle, not even a bicycle. When I traveled any distance, I rode the trains. For local errands in town, I walked. Thus wise, I regularly met many town folks walking or pedaling bicycles on the narrow streets or sidewalks. One lady in particular stood out to me. She was about 70 years old or older, and had a severe harelip that extended up into her nose dividing each nostril. Born soon after 1900, likely her parents had no money to have surgery and such done to improve that condition. To say the least (honestly), the precious woman’s face was most unsightly.
As I daily walked in town, it was common for me to meet up with her (say, 1 to 4 times or so a week) on the sidewalk or in the grocery store. I never caught sight of her when she was at home, so I never “discovered” which house she lived in. But I perceived that likely she lived alone, had never been married, and that likely no one in town even pretended to be her friend. No doubt she had no drivers’ license or a car. I never even saw her riding a bicycle. She was somewhat plump, and customarily trudged along walking (in her solitude and loneliness).
I observed that in general, the town folks avoided her, giving her a wide berth if they met her walking. Teenagers and children in particular did so. And a small group of (say) 3 or so children, sometimes upon seeing her would even exclaimed aloud in disdain, “Iya da!” (“Yuk”!). Teens together would whisper to each other, and children would talk aloud in close vicinity to her, about how horrible she looked. She was a most lonely and shunned soul, but a most precious soul in the sight of her Creator God (just as much so as the person with the most lovely face).
Seeing her pitiful condition and how most of the people around her treated her, God filled my soul with compassion for her. Soon, I gave her a kind verbal greeting when meeting her on the sidewalk. My Reader Friend, her reaction was amazing to behold. Her countenance turned to shock and she immediately turned around to look directly behind her on the sidewalk, thinking that I could not possibly be greeting her so kindly, but that I must be greeting someone else walking close behind her. She saw that no one was behind her and looked back toward me. I smiled brightly at her and went on my way.
The next time I soon ran into her, I gave her the brightest smile possible and the kindest spoken greeting. This time, she knew it was for her (and not for the phantom behind her). Her forlorn sad disfigured face broke into the brightest sunshine you can imagine. From then on, that is what I did each time I met up with her, sometimes asking her how she was doing, and wishing her a good day, as I went on my way.
With my pilot’s eagle eye eyesight much better than hers, I usually recognized her coming from a distance before she caught sight of me and recognized me. Not yet looking directly at her face, I would keep her face in my peripheral vision to observe her reaction when she caught sight of me. Friend, her face immediately turned bright and happy looking, knowing that a cheerful, kind greeting was about to come her way, something that ever so rarely happened to her.
Boys and girls, think seriously on this important question of mine, and give me the easy answer to it. ‘How much did it cost me to extend that kindness to that lonely, shunned soul?’
“Precious Lord Jesus, of course it costs nothing to be kind and friendly to a lonely, shunned person. Tho I am a child with very little money to give to any soul in need, it is ever so easy for me to be friendly to any friendless person. And it is most easy for me to believe that You will richly bless me and make me much happier for being as kind as possible to such a person. Help me to consider that it was not her fault that she was born with a deformed face. And that You could have ordained that I be born with such a disfigured face. But you did not. Thank You, Lord, for giving me a nice looking face. Please help me to be ever so vigilant, always watching for a chance to lift up the downfallen person with my wide, cheerful smile, and friendly and encouraging words. Help all other people on earth to also do such good deeds unto others. Amen!”
Parents, if your children are around people with a disfigured face (or a terrible deformity anywhere in their body), you know it is natural for anyone’s carnal nature to talk of such matters in a derogatory or repulsive way. Children are especially prone to do so. “For childhood and youth are vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 11:10)
Your Creator God and Soon-Coming Judge holds you accountable as the parent (who brought that child into this world), to teach your child to love those dear souls who are not so lovely or loveable (for any reason). As God leads you, teach your children to be ever so thankful for the good, healthy body and mind that God gave them (reminding them that when we have a lot of good things “going for us”, it tends to make our carnal nature proud). So, admonish them that if we scorn the person with physical handicaps and deformities, God could easily cause an injury or fire to deform and disfigure us even more badly.
Ask your children if any child at their school is made fun of because they are fat, or skinny, or wear glasses, or are poor at sports, or poor at studying, and such. Teach them to befriend such children, to be a friend to the friendless. Heaven bestows unspeakable riches of joy, blessings and such on us for doing so.
God forbid that our sinful carnal selfish pride causes us to despise such people for what they naturally are, thus making their heavy load, even heavier.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
“Abba Father in Heaven, please clearly show me each time it is displeasing in Thy Sight, the way I pick and choose those souls to whom I choose to be kind. Cause me to think on the great joy that I can bring to unlovely and unlovable downtrodden souls by extending Thy Tender, Loving Kindness to them, without it costing me anything to do so. I pray that all other souls on earth will also do right in this matter. God forbid that we make their heavy load even heavier by being unkind unto them. Amen.”
Richard Yerby (Matsuida, Japan) www.Christ-is-all.us