So I was at the courthouse this morning–in a line of about 80 people backed up out the front doors by the security bottleneck.

Have you ever focused your attention on *feeling* the humanity around you? It’s an acquired ability that anyone can learn. Sadness. Anger. Fear… Almost overwhelming when you connect with and feel it.

So there was also a soap box preacher there preaching hellfire.

I stood and watched the people. Most were trying to ignore him. Some showed thinly veiled contempt. Many were so wrapped up in the issues causing their presence at the court, they didn’t hear a thing. A very few were smiling at his words, thinking in their hearts “Give it to them, man!”

I wondered what Jesus would say if he were the one on the soap box. Not likely what was coming out of that preacher’s mouth. When Jesus connects with humanity, he is filled with compassion. Actually, Jesus probably wouldn’t have been on the soap box. He probably would have been moving through the crowd, touching people, telling them, “It’s going to be OK. There’s someone who loves you. And he’s the judge AND your defense attorney in a court whose authority sits higher than this one.”

The preacher was in the same condition as most of the people in line–disconnected. Locked in the stimulus-response cycle. That’s where most people live. Never exercising that ability which makes us human–stepping into the gap between stimulus and response so that we can exercise our freedom to choose, our ability to step outside ourselves and consider and feel what’s really going on.

As you walk through this day, let me challenge you become aware of the people around you. Feel their pain. Feel their joy. Feel their sadness. Feel their peace. Feel their fear. Feel their loneliness. Then step outside the stimulus-response cycle and make a conscious choice to make a difference. Make a difference for them. Make a difference for you. I need to do that for me, too.

– Bob Hancock, Jr.