I'm a total chicken. Allow me to explain.
Early in the evening this past Saturday, I was about to return home from running a few errands. Not without stopping by Starbucks to grab a sweet tea. (OF COURSE!) As I was pulling in to the parking lot, I was taking great care because there was a weathered-looking caucasian man in a trench coat who could have walked into my path. He didn't, and so I turned in, parked, & walked on in.
As I stood in line, I noticed that the man I noticed on the street walked in & stood in line behind me. Without trying to be too obvious, I at least noticed that this fellow probably wasn't wealthy. As I stepped to the register & placed my order, it hit me that this was a great opportunity to spontaneously pay it forward in terms of God's grace.
I looked back again to see this guy holding 2 or 3 One Dollar bills in his fist. I panicked. "Should I tell the young lady at the register that I would cover the guy behind me? Would that make a scene? Would I embarrass or offend this guy? Isn't it the right thing to do? Is it???" The moment passed, along with the opportunity.
Given my natural personality, I tend to analyze what to do or say before doing or saying it rather than doing or saying whatever and dealing with the consequences. I handicapped my decision-making ability with too much information -- "paralysis by analysis." I don't offer that as an excuse as much as I do a partial explanation for why I acted the way I did in that situation.
Another way to look at it: I choked. I can't shake that guilty feeling that I knew "good to do and (did) not do it" (James 4:17). And I think that speaks volumes.
We were just reading John 5 at a Bible Study last night, and we came across & made a big deal out of verse 6. Jesus noticed the lame man, obviously felt compassion for him, and then acted on that. It's debatable given his omniscience (and, as follows, his ability to plan out everything), but it appears that Jesus was able to show kindness spontaneously.
We saw what I did. We saw what Jesus did. What would you have done? What should I have done? What can you share with me to help me respond better in a similar moment in the future?