This may sound silly, but strangers scare me. I’d make the perfect 4-year-old in that sense! I am not the most trusting when it comes to meeting random people.
Did you ever read the Bernstein Bears Learn about Strangers? Sister Bear learns that one can’t always trust strangers. By page 5 or so, she begins to see the world as a dark, scary place with sinister strangers lurking around every corner. By the end of the book, however, Sister Bear has a more balanced perspective on a world with strangers in it – cautious, but not fearful.
Unfortunately, I’m stuck on page 5…strangers cannot be trusted. I feel this especially at the grocery store.
I know my point of view is unhealthy. God showed kindness to me 2 times this week through strangers. I found my daughter’s shoe hanging from a stop sign because a stranger took the time to tie it there to be found. And, of all places, a stranger at the grocery store bought my kids candy (in my presence!) in the check-out line. I shared these experiences on Cast Your Worries Facebook page and heard a couple more stories of stranger’s kindness.
Maybe strangers aren’t so bad?
Here’s the lie I tell myself:
Strangers want to hurt me, my kids, my husband, my van. They’re probably following me through the store waiting for an opportune time to snatch my purse – or a kid!
Not only is this take on strangers rooted in fear, it’s also very egocentric (everyone is out to get ME!!!).
The saddest part is it’s inhibited me from blessing strangers with the love of Christ. It’s wrecked my witness.
I approach others with a leery eyes, keep conversations brief and shallow, and don’t listen as I normally would.
I miss opportunities to witness, to be present, to listen, to befriend, to share, to love, to be Christ-like.
Truth is some strangers do hurt others. But not all strangers are dubious. I’m a stranger to most people, and I’m not dangerous!
In fact, most strangers hold open doors without a hidden agenda. Others give a large family $100 to help with dinner at a restaurant.
The greatest truth to rely on is that God sustains us through trials; He will never leave or forsake me. He is present every time I’m around stranger. And if a stranger hurts me, I trust God to walk me through the shadow of whatever happens
Plus it’s my calling as a Christian to serve others and proclaim Jesus. How can I witness when I’m scared?
Now this doesn’t mean I’m going to walk into a group of strangers and let them babysit my Mister Mister.
I will still be cautious. But I will continue to strive for the balanced perspective Sister Bear reached. Be cautious, not fearful.
After all, strangers need Jesus’ love too. And imagine the blessings I miss because of my fear of strangers!
How have you been blessed by a stranger?