“Who Kissed Me?”
This interpretive reading is from my story file and has been there for more than forty years. It has no copyright, and you are more than welcome to print it and use it yourself is you happen to be teaching on compassion, it makes a wonderful illustration.
“Who Kissed Me” by Eva Booth
Eva Booth, an earnest Christian service worker in Great Britain, remind us the little effort it sometimes takes to touch what we might believe to be a heart of stone. But let her tell you about it.
One morning I stood outside the large iron gate of a local police court and temporary prison. There were people waiting there with me. Some of them were waiting out of curiosity and others were waiting because they had relatives inside the forbidding walls.
I waited that morning expectantly, hoping for an opportunity to reach some hungry soul with the Gospel. Suddenly I caught the sound of the shuffling of heavy feet. It came closer and closer, and then I distinguished the noise of loud voices mingling with the shuffling. One voice stood out above the others. It became louder and louder, shriller, and shriller. It was the voice of a woman.
The gates opened, and then it was that I witnessed a sight which only eternity can wash from my mind, for time never can.
There came through those gates a woman. Two policemen walked in front of her and two walked behind her. One stalwart man held firmly to the woman’s right arm while another held her left arm. The prisoner’s hair was uncombed, matted and disheveled. Her right temple was blackened with bruises; clots of dried blood stood upon her left temple. Her clothes were torn and bloodstained as she came forward she tried to wrench her arms from the grasp of the police. The very atmosphere of the morning was laden with her curses and her oaths. She tossed her head wildly as the six policemen dragged her down the passageway and through the gates.
I felt that I must do something—something to help this poor soul, and quickly. The moment was golden and soon my opportunity would be gone. What could I do? My mind worked hastily. Could I offer a prayer? No, there was not time. Could I sing? That would be absurd. Could I give her money? She could not take it. Could I quote a verse of Scripture? She would not heed it.
It seemed an angel whispered to me telling me what I should do, and I did not stop to question the wisdom. The impulse of a burning desire took possession of me. As the bedraggled woman passed, quickly I stepped forward and kissed her cheek.
Whether the police were taken off their guard by my extraordinary action and relaxed their grasp, I do not know, but with one wrench the woman freed her arms, and clasping her hands, as the wind caught up her matted and disheveled hair, she looked toward the gray skies and said, “My God, Who Kissed Me? My God, who kissed me? Nobody has ever kissed me since my mother died.”
She lifted her tattered apron, buried her hands, and like a little lamb was led to the vehicle which was to take her to the Crown Prison.
A few days later I went to the prison for a visit in hopes of seeing the woman I had seen so recently being taken through its portals. As the door I met the warden. “I would like to see the lady who was brought here from the city prison a few mornings back” I said, and then tried to describe her as best I could.
“I believe I know who you mean” the warden slowly began. “I’m sorry, but we think her mind is gone. She does nothing but pace up and down her cell, asking me every time I go in if I know who kissed her.”
“Would you let me go in and speak to her?” I asked. “I am her best and only friend. Would you let me go right inside her cell?”
“Why yes,” was the puzzling reply. The warden then opened the door and I went in.
The now quiet woman looked up at me as I came in. Her hair was smoothly combed, and eagerly she beset me with a question.
“Do you know who kissed me? The other morning when the policemen were bringing me in here someone in the crowd stepped up and put a kiss on my face.”
She did not wait for an answer, but went right on talking.
“When I was a girl, seven years of age, my widowed mother died; she died very poor, although she was of gentle birth. She died in a back basement in the dark. When she was dying they called me to her, and taking my little face in both her hands, she kissed it and said, “My poor little girl, my defenseless little girl. O God. have pity of my little girl, and when I am gone, protect and take care of my little girl.” From that day until the day the stranger kissed me, nobody ever put a kiss upon my face. Tell me, who kissed me?”
And then it was I said, “It was I who kissed you. I kissed you in the name of Jesus, the Savior. Jesus loves you with a love so much more tender than mine could ever be. It was He who went to the Cross for you.”
In Him, this poor woman found light and joy and comfort, and healing and love and salvation. Before she was released from the prison the wardens testified not only to the change in her life, but to its beauty. Through God she was made the means of salvation to numbers of others who were down as low as she herself had been—all because on that bleak morning, before the prison gates, in my great desire to reach a lost soul for God, I kissed her