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A Valuable Lesson From a ‘Dirty Child’

by Nancy Johnson
circa Summer of 1987


Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 

For in the same way you judge others,
you will be judged, and with the measure
you use, it will be measured to you.
— Matthew 7:1
This Scripture has always been so important in my Christian life, and when I was a younger woman I prayed fervently for sin in me to be revealed.

One happy summer morning, my husband and I decided to go to a favorite coffee shop for a cup and the companionship we always found there. Our teenagers were already out playing a game of basketball with the neighborhood kids, and we had to get them to move so we could back out of the drive.  My husband had a request of our son, so he stopped in the middle of the group, and I listened as they all chatted and laughed.

As the conversation was winding down and I knew we were fixing to continue our backward trek, a small boy rushed to my car window and gripped the door.  I quickly shooed him away.  Any onlooker would have thought my concern was strictly for the child’s well-being.  But God and I knew better.

As we rounded the corner at the end of our block, I began to sob.  My shame was enormous.  I’d seen this dirty child, and was repulsed at his being so near me.  He was filthy, and smelled, and he looked me right in the eyes!  The angel had delivered a message from God that was so hard for me to admit.  I wasn’t aware at the time that the child had been an angel.  Because I was crying so hard at my revealed sin, we had to return home without our morning coffee.

Later, when the kids came in, I asked who the boy had been, intending to make amends for what was in my heart, somehow.  The kids never saw the boy, and I never saw him again.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Hebrews 13:1-3 

I learned some very valuable lessons that day, and I thank God for the revelations He made to me through that little angel.  My walk with Him has changed, because God took the time to answer my prayer in that most graphic way.  And I feel compelled to share this very personal experience.


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