"Change your thoughts and you change your world." Norman Vincent Peale
A man entered the cab of a Pakistani taxi driver in the USA, posing as a passenger. In moments he pointed a gun at the taxi driver and in a snarl demanded all the money he had. Turning his eyes away from the road, the taxi driver looked at the man and in a compassionate voice replied: "Here, take all my money. You must need it more than I do. I have a cab and can make money. But you can't. So, take it". The man grabbed the money. Then, looking bewildered, he hit his head three times with the gun and incoherently muttered: "You wake me up, man. You wake me up". For a while he sat thinking, as the taxi driver continued to drive. Repeatedly nodding his head, he shoved the gun into his pocket, threw the money on the seat and got out of the cab at the next red traffic signal. He took nothing.
What lessons should our children learn from this story?
1) That some angry and violent people wilt in the warmth of compassion. Perhaps the man with the gun succeeded in relieving other taxi drivers of their money, through angry threats and violence. But here was one who was unafraid of a gun because he was armed with compassion. He saw the plight of a desperate man who used violent ways to pluck money out of timid hands. He chose to respond differently. His readiness to give all he had, and the way he rationalized his action confused and troubled the gunman. Never before had this man come face to face with Compassion. He was felled by a feather. He could not take money from one who did not resist; one who yielded willingly; one who put the other man's need above his own.
2) That such heroic acts stir even hardened criminals. Such acts help change the way these criminals think. "You wake me up", were the words of a man who once had good thoughts. Now those good thoughts slumbered. The taxi driver's good deed roused those drowsy good thoughts and he responded in a changed way. Our children should know that no one is lost. That no one should be put out of reach of their compassion. That a turn around could be just a corner away.
"I say to you, love your enemies." Matt.5:44.