If you’ve been reading my articles for very long you’ve found that I often times write about real life situations. Well yesterday was one of those days! It started with my early morning bike ride to the jetty (a popular spot for surfers and anglers alike) and my encounter with what I believe was a surfer late for work (this happens a lot especially when the swells are up and favorable attracting surfers from all over). You may be thinking “How do you know he was a surfer and that he was late for work?” I’m glad you asked. As a professional surf photographer, I see surfers frequently coming out of the water running to the showers, then running to their cars, change their clothes and off they go! I’ve even heard stories of how many of them decide to skip work and school because of the swells.
Now back to my story. As I was approaching a corner entering the parking lot a trendy black vehicle was coming toward me going way over the speed limit (another sure sign of being late) and so when he saw me he beeped his horn at me to get out of his way. I thought, had he been doing the speed limit we both would have had ample time to avoid this unnecessary situation. That’s not all. After having a discussion with my husband about teenage dating (we have a fifteen year old son), I felt the need to get by myself, do some shopping, relax and get a decaf iced vanilla latte. When I arrived at the store I went and grabbed a turkey wrap since it was nearly lunch time, laid it on the counter and ordered my coffee. After paying for both items (receipt in my wallet) I sat down by the window to eat my lunch and drink my latte. Since the wrap was fairly large I decided to eat only half and put the rest back in its container and ask for a bag. As I stood at the counter I asked one of the employees if she could give me a bag. I have to be honest, she was not very friendly and kind of just looked at me while finishing preparing another drink for a customer. She then said to me “did you pay for that?” Let me stop here for a moment. When I payed for my order this young woman was not at the counter at the time. I assumed she must have seen me enjoying my lunch and drink. After questioning me if I had paid for my lunch, I was a bit surprised and offended that she would even ask me that since my wrap was half eaten and my latte was just about gone. I said, “Of course I paid for it! I’ve been sitting right here (my table was right by there work space) for the last 30 minutes eating and drinking!” I then let her know my receipt was in my wallet. Another older, much kinder women that was also working behind the counter came to my aid and said, “what can I get you ma’am?” I then asked her kindly for a bag which she immediately gave me, no questions asked!
I chuckle now as I’m writing this, but at the time I was not very happy with how I was treated! The thought to go and get a manager crossed my mind a couple of times as I walked to another register to purchase my other items that I had picked up while shopping, but I chose not to, because I needed to cool off a bit. I’m a pastor you know so I didn’t really want to make a scene, so I payed for the rest of my things and went to the car to run another errand before going home. When I arrived at my next destination, I was still unhappy with how I was treated (I can usually blow these things off, but this time I was not willing to let it go) so I looked inside my bag that had the receipt and called the previous store and with a kind and calm voice I asked to speak with a manager. When she picked up I told her (kindly and calmly) what had happened, I told her that normally I don’t like to do this, but I was still a little offended by how I was treated. She listened kindly and thanked me for calling and assured me that she wants to be aware of these kinds of things and expressed that she was going to speak with the individual. I then thanked her for understanding and we both said good-bye and hung up.
You might be thinking “Oh the drama!” I have to agree, but the reason for my writing about my unhappy experience is that as the day went on, I talked to the Lord, asked for forgiveness and got I rid of my anger, frustration, resentment and unforgiveness.
Toward the end of the day I was thinking about how unhappy people are and how we need to be careful not to let their unhappiness attach itself to us. What I mean is, yes, we’re all going to experience days like this, but in the end it’s what we do about it that matters. Are we going to allow others unhappiness or the fact that we’re being treated unkindly or unfairly ruin our day? We can if we want them to, but the truth is we don’t have to. The fact of the matter is there will always be unhappy people, some are worse than unhappy some are down right miserable, but we do not have to allow their actions to steal our joy. We can allow what they do to us fester or we can brush it off and get rid of it as quickly as possible. As I look back on yesterday I feel that I really did not have to call the manager and dump my frustration on her. I very well could have just let it go. But I didn’t, at the time I wanted justice! The truth is, Jesus said for us to “love” our enemies. This would have been a perfect opportunity for me to practice what he said, and I did, but not until much later in the day. I asked the Lord to forgive me and I also chose to forgive her and the other driver for how they treated me.
Friends, I know that when I choose to forgive, I’m doing it for me. Forgiveness brings the person who is forgiving “peace”. It helps to keep us from getting bitter toward others. It allows us to live in “joy” even when others are miserable. It’s just like when you find that there is a spider crawling on you, what’s the first thing you do? Brush it off!! (we may even jump around and scream a bit to get it off, lol…) Get rid of it as soon as possible. That’s what we’re supposed to do when when unfair and unkind situations occur, get rid of it before it steals our peace and our joy.
Jesus Teaching about Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’[a] and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies![b] Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends,[c] how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect (love others), even as your Father in heaven is perfect (loves others). Mathew 5:43-48 New Living Translation
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