Years ago, my daughter used to tell me I had such perfect looking feet, I should become a professional foot model. Whenever we shoe shopped together, every sandal I tried on looked amazing on my perfectly formed feet that were free from bunions, corns or any manner of foot-related defect.

My feet are still pretty cute, but what looks good on the outside is hiding a plethora of problems on the inside.  I’ve suffered for many years from plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and arthritis.  Any one of these problems is extremely painful alone but all three combined have created a trifecta of trouble and debilitating pain that can at times be off the charts. But still – these are nice looking feet.

God in His goodness has taught me that like my unseen foot pain, every day we are likely to encounter people who are hurting and broken inside – even though on the outside, they may appear happy and put together.

The fact is, EVERYONE has a story of some kind. No one escapes this life completely unscathed and untouched by trouble or trials. So even when someone may say, “I’m fine,” that may not always be the case.

In this fast-paced, rat-race, running on empty, crazy world we live in, it can be difficult to take the time to listen to what people may not be saying when their lips are moving. God tells us in Colossians 3:12: … Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

It can be tempting to concentrate on our own problems and live in a bubble of self-preservation and ignore those around us. But when God tells us “clothe ourselves with compassion,” this implies action on our part. When we get dressed every day, we PUT our clothes on our bodies. We don’t wake up fully dressed --we have to physically make an effort to put on our shirts, shorts and shoes. In the same way, we have to make a conscious effort to put on compassion and kindness.

The signs that someone may be hurting are limitless.

A forced smile from that snarky cashier; the waiter who is distracted and gets our order wrong; the co-worker who snaps at us for a simple error.

We can never know the effort someone may put into covering up what could be festering inside of them.

It may be easier for us to ignore the subtleties of a hurting heart, but in order to become more Christ-like in our behavior we must PUT ON compassion and kindness ... a great double feature of God’s love.  It’s never too late to jump in with both feet and make an effort to care! Otherwise … what’s the point of calling ourselves Christians?

*For further study, read The Parable of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.

Kathy Kurlin