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UNDESERVED KINDNESS by Brittany Snyder

The gift from the Pretzel Lady that saved my day

Read: 1 John 3

Reflect: The four month old was cutting two teeth….help us all!  The husband was hunting.  The two-year-old was acting her age and the five-year-old desperately wanted a soft pretzel during our grocery run last week. My go to answer is often “No!” but this day I was tired and a soft pretzel sounded good so off to the pretzel place we went.

When we walked up to the stand, I saw it was cash only and remembered my empty wallet. I quickly assessed the situation as I looked at my excited 5-year-old and well, the 2-year-old who was now totally wound up and living up to the well-earned reputation of being a “terrible two”.  I gathered myself for the disappointment and tears as I stammered, “Girls, I am so sorry. I don’t have the money and we will come back another...” Before I could finish, the lady in the pretzel truck interrupted, “Do you live close?” I wasn’t sure where this conversation was going (nope, I wasn’t planning on driving home for money and coming back with three kids in tow).  But then she finished, “Take the pretzels and pay me back another time. Next week. A few weeks from now, it doesn’t matter.”

Cue tears from someone who didn’t sleep enough the night before and happy smiles from two girls who just got to witness undeserved kindness. This simple unexpected and undeserved act of graciousness took me off guard. Not because what she did was some grandiose gesture but because our world seems so focused on the unkind right now. Politics. Riots. Sickness. Anger. Distrust. You name it and you see it on a daily basis. The media is overflowing with it. Social media is a cesspool of it. And too easily it can become your normal. Too easily it has become my normal – which is why the pretzel lady brought me on my knees before God.

As believers we have in Jesus the ultimate example of kindness, compassion, understanding, mercy and faith to turn to every single day but instead it is easy to become downtrodden by the things of the world. If a simple act from the pretzel lady can turn around my day, then imagine the place of lovely servanthood my heart would reside in if I daily kept my eyes focused on my beloved Savior.

Yet we often find ourselves lamenting that there is no kindness left around us, forgetting that the ultimate example of undeserved kindness is continuously accessible. I John 3:16: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”  His kindness, His love, His mercy brought Him to a place where he laid down his life for us. Jesus doesn’t just turn around days – He turns around lives.  Those around us need to see flowing from us this same type of unwarranted kindness in all we do and say.

Apply: So where are you looking for kindness? Where are you seeking compassion? Humans will fail us time and time again but our Savior is the ultimate example of love. Let us turn our eyes back to Jesus as we live in a world that desperately needs kindness. For if our eyes are on Christ then the words of 1 John 3:18 should be our daily mantra, “let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” Who do you need to show undeserved kindness? Let us be the pretzel lady to those around us – showing undeserved kindness, compassion, and love because Christ first freely gave it to us.

Britt Snyder is a lover of Jesus and wife to Greg. Her days are filled loving on and chasing around their three little ones: Lynette, Audrey and Wade. As a former elementary school teacher and now stay at home mama she enjoys serving as a kindergarten homeschool co-op teacher and leader at GCC's Mornings for Moms ministry. Coffee and books fill the moments where all three kids are miraculously sleeping at the same time.