Archived Story

Strangers might just be angels

Published 11:19pm Sunday, March 22, 2009

My large family has a friendly disposition toward others, and most of us have never met a stranger.

I can surely say that my parents did not have a shy bone in their bodies or tell us to shy away from people. We would see our parents interact with strangers as though they were family too. And from that, my siblings and I would do the same. From grocery stores, doctor offices or just a casual invite to a social gathering, we conversed with a stranger as though we had known him for years.

Even now it’s such a positive thing for me to greet and meet people in this fashion.

And you never know when a person may actually need that kind of response. They may have just had a bad day, or just someone looking for someone to talk too. Although today’s world pushes us to shy away because of all the evil in the hearts and minds of people, I would just have to take a chance.

When I find out that the person is receptive to me, then I just act natural and do what I do best in life, warm their hearts.

Years ago when my children were small and we would go outside of our home, they would see me talking to someone in a casual way, and after I would leave to return home, they would ask Momma, who was that? I would say to them, “I don’t know baby, it was just someone I just met.” And they would reply and say such as “I thought they were our cousins or you had known them for years.”

Today, I don’t tell my grandchildren to shy away, but I do tell them to be very careful out in the world because everyone is not your friend and everyone out there will not have your best interest at heart.

I clearly tell them to say hello and keep going unless they are accompanied by an adult. You have to tell your children and grandchildren this, so that they won’t get caught up in the presence of a stranger offering them a piece of candy or a sparkling lifestyle that will allow them to be caught up in a sick world.

One valuable lesson my parents taught me and my siblings was to treat people the way we wanted to be treated. They would say if you treat people bad, expect to be treated bad; and if you treat people good, expect good in return; and even if you treat them good and they treated you bad, we were told to not hold grudges and just pray for that person.

Because believe it or not, people will use the actions you use with them, good or bad, on one of your family members. The goodness or badness may be reflected in something as acquiring employment from an employer who was once affected by an experience that they had with your parents.

So, it comes as an un-natural thing for me to clam up or treat someone with a cold heart. I just don’t know how to put those actions into focus, even when someone gets on my last nerve, I still manage, through the grace of God, to let go of that ill feeling and bounce back to myself.

And from that point on, I’ll treat them with a long handle spoon (speak from a distance) to keep down confusion.

The way my family and I greet strangers we come in contact with reminds me of a scripture in the Word of God. It says “be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” This is simply saying that on every occasion of greeting, meeting or entertaining people, be aware of the way you treat them because one day, they just might become that angel you really need. There are angels, maybe not in the heavenly sense with wings, but nice people who return acts of kindnesses to you or one of your family members.

We’ve all said “Oh, she was an angel,” about someone who was there when you needed them. Well, they were an angel to you because they made such a difference in a point of time. Make a difference by turning your frown into a smile. Give extra change to someone who needs it. Open the door for someone when you can. Give a word of comfort. Offer a ride.

No matter how small or large the favor is, that person helping out can become your angel. So be careful when you entertain strangers, you might just be entertaining an angel.

Beverly Gibson is a Ferriday resident.