Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Jamie worked night shift stocking shelves at the local discount store where I worked evenings as a cashier. One night sometime around 11:30, Jamie walked up to the front of the store to where I stood at the one lonely express register still open.

Jamie was pale. He was bent over, holding his thigh between his two hands as he walked.

"Jamie," I asked, "are you okay?"

He stopped, swayed, and looked over at me. That was when I saw the trail of blood leading back toward the grocery aisles.  "Call an ambulance," he whispered.

My heart leapt into my throat. I picked up the register phone. "CALL AN AMBULANCE! WE NEED A MANAGER UP FRONT IMMEDIATELY!" I shouted.

Minutes later, Jamie and the store manager were on their way to the emergency room. A crew began cleaning up the trail of blood that ran from the front door to the dry goods aisle where Jamie had buried the blade of a box cutter in his thigh.

We learned before the night was out that the razor-sharp blade had narrowly missed the artery in Jamie's leg. If he had not had the presence of mind to hold the wound close and apply pressure, the artery would most likely have ruptured before he reached the front of the store. If he and the few employees still at the store hadn't recognized the seriousness of his injury and acted quickly, Jamie could have very well bled to death that night.

I have had a dislike of box cutters ever since.

Recently, when I was in a moment of great distress and heartache, someone responded to my brokenness with, "Awww, darling, you just need a hug."

I was too stunned to reply. Like Jamie on the night he stabbed his thigh, I was pale and weak.

Jamie didn't need a hug: he needed emergency medical assistance.

I did not just need a hug: I needed an infusion of the resurrection power of Jesus. Thankfully, keener eyes rightly assessed the situation, and I was not left to bleed to death.

(To patronize someone means to treat them coolly, or with an air of condescension. It means to speak to another with an air of moral or intellectual superiority, to speak down to them, to dismiss them. Please, don't patronize me. Honestly, even if I'm bleeding, I'd prefer you insult me outright.)

* * *

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," - [or, "Awww, you just need a hug"] - without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. - James 2:14-16

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