When my wife, Cathy, and I were pastoring in Oklahoma, our daughter and son, Angela and Tim, went on an outing to the neighboring town. Angela was driving and decided to take a graveled country road as a shortcut. Somehow, she lost steering control and subsequently rolled and wrecked the car. There was only a scratch on Tim’s finger, but Angela had lacerations and glass embedded in the right side of her face that required over 40 stitches. Fortunately a good Samaritan drove by and gave them a ride to the hospital, where Angela received treatment. The emergency room doctor was kind and tried to calm her as he picked glass out of her face and sewed her lacerations with minute stitches so she would have a minimum of scarring.
A month after their narrow escape from death, we were involved in a citywide tent crusade with local ministers preaching, including me. The renowned gospel music artist Doug Oldham, son of the late Dale Oldham, was our soloist and worship leader. We had a wonderful time together and he and Angela became very close. On the day Doug and his wife, Laura Lee, were to go to the Tulsa airport to fly back home, we invited them to dine with us. After the meal as they were preparing to leave, Doug said to Angela, “Come here, Sweetie, and give me a hug and kiss goodbye!” She first hugged Laura Lee and then as she approached Doug, she presented the “good side” of her face to him. The other side was still red, raw and obviously scarred. Doug lovingly took her face in his hands, turned her head and kissed her on her scars! There wasn’t a dry eye in the house! Without saying a word, Doug displayed a wonderful act of compassion that spoke volumes. He is in heaven now enjoying the compassion of his Lord.
When we are around people who have been bruised and battered by life or by circumstances, do we show that kind of compassion? Are we willing to kiss people on their scars? Jesus was! In fact the Bible says, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36 NIV). Christ’s compassion compelled Him to act: to help and to heal; to seek and to save. We need to follow His example. The apostle Paul tells us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12 NIV). As Christians, our love and kindheartedness for individuals MUST compel us to treat others with compassion. We must do more than pray for people; we must show our love and concern by acts of kindness. Are you kissing the scars? Look for them— they’re all around you!
— REV. WILLIAM P. MEANS