grace & the dentist
I found myself sitting in the waiting room of the dentist office while my son was being worked on. I had taken a book to read to pass the time, but I kept getting distracted by the people coming in. The first one was a man who appeared to be in his early thirties. He was sporting a bright purple Mohawk on his head with multiple piercings on his face. I couldn’t help it. . . . I stared . . . for just a second or two. Then in came a teenage boy with his mother. He was deaf. They sat in the corner and seemed to be arguing . . . in sign language. I couldn’t help it . . . I stared . . . for just a second or two . . . it fascinated me. Then in came a young couple. She was VERY pregnant. I noticed no wedding band on her finger. What I really noticed was her dirty feet and toenails slipped into flip flops. I couldn’t help it . . . I stared . . . for just a second or two.
I wondered about each one of them and what their story was. All kinds of scenarios went through my mind. It’s so easy to imagine a story based in someone’s outer appearance, and yet I’ve learned from my interviewing the homeless that what’s on the inside does not always match the outside. The Lord knew this. I believe this is why we read in His Word, “For man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.” I quote this verse many times when talking about the homeless. And yet, this day in the dentist office, I found myself staring—on the brink of judging. And then I looked down at the book in my lap. Guess what the title of it was? “Why Jesus?” by Ravi Zacharias.
Why Jesus? Because he loves the purple Mohawks, the dirty feet, the argumentative teen . . . and me. Why Jesus? Because He gave His life to give us the ultimate gift . . . grace. I know of no other who gives us grace and teaches us to give the same as He.
Grace . . . an undeserved gift. A gift I ask people to give to the “least of these.” Was I issuing grace by staring and letting my mind wander? Was I a messenger giving good news? Not this day. As I let my mind wander, one by one, each one in the waiting room was called to the back. I found myself alone again. I don’t know if I messed up this day or not, but as I was starting to beat myself up about staying quiet I was reminded, I’ve been set free, I was lost but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see. This wretch was saved for ever and ever. I don’t know where those people stand, if they will be at the banquet table or not. So I prayed for each one, that—if they are not now saved—they will be found, eyes will be opened, and grace will be received to set them free.
The purple Mohawk was very friendly and had a great smile. The dirty feet and arguing deaf boy sweetly smiled at me too before leaving. I smiled back. Did they issue grace? They might not have realized it, but I felt like I had received it.
Grace is such a amazing thing. It can float around a room and you think you know where it will land . . . and then it lands on you. My son left the office this day with cleaner teeth and I left with a more grace-filled soul. Three people touched me, though they never knew it. I won’t waste what I received. I’ll pass it on. O, amazing grace, how sweet the sound . . . how sweet the touch! —submitted by Kristin Bridgman, US
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