Robin admired the intricate and colorful design in my hand-made Italian plate. It had been a gift to me from my former boss following her trip to her husband’s homeland. Robin barrowed the beautiful plate to copy the pattern. During the time she had it, she handled it with extreme care, worried that she would damage my treasured gift. Finally, one Sunday she brought the plate to church, relieved she was giving it back unharmed.

With the plate carefully wrapped in a paper bag, Robin started to hand it to me. Before I could reach it a corner of the bag caught on a table edge and fell from Robin’s grasp. In an instant, the plate shattered. Robin’s smile melted into horror and tears flowed as she watched her greatest fear come true.

The plate stayed where it landed as I threw my arms around Robin. “I’m so sorry,” she sobbed. “I know how much that meant to you.”

“Not as much as you do,” I assured her. “It was only a plate.”

The following Sunday, a church member said to me, “I saw what you did last week.”

Puzzled, I asked her to explain.

She said, “I stood back and watched just to see how you would treat my friend when she broke your plate. Thank you for comforting her instead of making her feel worse.”

I had no idea anyone had witnessed our encounter. As Christians, our actions may be judged when we least expect it. I was glad my priority had been Robin’s feelings.

Have you ever learned afterwards that your actions were being watched?

3 Comments. Leave new

Robin G. Barlow
March 2, 2014 9:49 pm

Thanks for sharing Nancey, you were also a great insperation to me that day. I thought Wow!, how can she be so forgiving! And you genuinely were & I do know your heart. I did not know anyone was watching us either. You reminded me that day that it is people that are more important then things. Thanks for being such a close friend all of these years!


    It wasn’t hard to be forgiving when I saw how upset you were and I didn’t want you to feel bad. I truely have never missed that plate as much as do you.


Yes, I’ve been there. You are so kind, Nancey, I would expect no other reaction from you. thanks for sharing. We all need to be reminded that our actions are observed; even when we’re alone, God sees us.


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