I was driving downtown with a friend of mine a while ago on our way to a store. As we approached the corner I saw an oddly dressed older man standing out in front of the store we wanted to go to. He had a small brief case in one hand and something else I couldn't quite make out in the other. My first impression was that he was some kind of street salesman who was going to rush up to us and try to sell us something just as soon as we got out of the car. My instinct was to keep driving and come back later.
But we didn't have much time and wanted to make this stop. So I parallel parked and got out of the car. Sure enough, he motioned his way toward us. I was gearing up mentally to say something like "No Thanks", or "I'm not interested", or "Stay away from me you strange person". Anyway, I'm sure my body language was screaming "Get away from me!" But, he kept coming. I tried not to give him any sign of interest. However, my nature wouldn't allow me to come across too cold. I thought, maybe if I just give him a little nod and a quick smile without slowing down he'll see we're not interested and leave us alone.
He didn't seem to respond to my body language. In fact, he didn't seem to "see" the signals I was sending at all. His mouth opened and what he said wasn't what I was expecting at all. In a kind voice he said, "Could you help me across the street?" My spirit as my guard instantly melted away. I recognized that the other object he was holding was a folded up walking cane. Then it dawned on me. This man is blind. He wasn't trying to push a sale on us. He was simply trying to cross the street and needed someone to show him the way. I felt ashamed of my quick assumptions and instantly offered to walk across the street with him.
We talked a little as we walked and within the two minutes it took us to reach the other side I had learned a valuable lesson. Every time you encounter a "strange person on the street" you have an opportunity to make a positive or negative impression. You have the opportunity to show love or hate. You have the opportunity to help or to hinder.
Every moment of every day is an opportunity to show the love of Christ. I'm not sure who the real blind man was that day out on the street, the stranger or me. But this phrase has taken on new meaning for me "I once was blind, but now I see."