Jesus came to my door last night and I turned him away.
He looked and sounded like a woman who told me she needed money for her kids.
I knew her story was probably not true as she had run it past many others in my neighborhood.
And so I looked her right in the eye and told her (kindly, of course) that I could not help her.
So, she turned and walked away.
And I woke in the night and realized what an opportunity I had missed.
Not to give her money, because I am pretty confident that money is not what she really needed.
I missed the opportunity to give her a human moment ... the chance to be seen behind her story.
And I, too, missed being seen behind the story she probably had in her mind about me - a person in a nice house in a nice neighborhood who might possibly "buy the lie" and give her some cash.
She is so much more than her story.
And so am I.
But instead of finding a connecting place as two human beings, we both bought the lies and missed each other.
And I felt sad ...
For what I'd lost.
And for what she'd lost.
Now please, do not write me or text me and tell me that I am a good person. Do not tell me that we shouldn't give to those who beg; that she was probably going to spend money on drugs or alcohol or whatever. Do not tell me I did the right thing by turning her away. These things are irrelevant to me.
What is relevant is that I follow a Jesus who told me he would show up in disguise, when I least expect to see him, as another human being in need ... and that I should always be prepared to serve him.
And I missed him.
Instead of dismissing Jesus disguised as a woman, I should have walked outside of my porch and asked her to sit on the stoop with me for a moment and tell me about her real life. Tell me about why she is walking the streets asking strangers for money. Tell me what is making her so desperate. Tell me what she really needs.
If she ever comes back, that is what I will do.
But today, I simply mourn the fact that Jesus came to my door and I turned him away.