serving those with dirty feet

Written by Amy L. Sullivan

SERVE Editor Word lover. Book devourer. Music addict. Amy is a Northern girl who found herself living in the South. She drinks sweet tea, turns her nose up at okra, and attempts to tell her daughters "yella" isn't a color.

January 10, 2013

serving others, serve, dirty feet, foot washing
Recently, while I was supposed to be serving, I judged a mother of twins. It was easy to judge this woman. Her babies’ clothes dirty, tufts of hair ratty, noses runny.The twins didn’t babble. They were old enough to talk in baby speak. I know these things. I have kids. I teach kids. Instead, the twins stared.The twins’ feet were covered in dirt from the day.The mother allowed her babies to lick suckers, which meant sticky fingers and shirts covered in goo.

Oh, and the mom didn’t bring enough diapers.

Did I have extra?

“No, sorry,” fake sincerity oozing.

The truth was I couldn’t get beyond the feet, those tiny, filth-caked feet. I mean, how much effort does it take to wipe two pair of teeny feet?

I simmered as a question darted through my mind.

Do you know what’s worse than dirty feet?

Um, fingers covered in sticky goo?

No, a dirty heart.


My heart showed up to serve, but instead judged. My heart longed to above all, to love each other deeply (1 Peter 4:8), but instead got stuck on the surface.

I desire for all to know the love of Jesus, but I prefer if the “all” arrive cleaned-up, dusted off, and with clean feet.

Warm water and soap can bathe babies clean, but scrubbing off judgement takes serious work.
Image credit.


  1. Lori McClure

    “Warm water and soap can bathe babies clean, but scrubbing off judgement takes serious work.” – That is quite a line, A., quite a line. I think it might be more work than I’d like to think about at times 🙁

  2. mindysue

    Oh Amy – scrubbing off judgement! I will be pondering this post for a while…

  3. Henri Nouwen

    As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their “right” place.


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serving those with dirty feet

by Amy L. Sullivan time to read: 1 min