Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Bad Situation, Made Worse

"the kindness you must do"
Genesis 20:13

I’ve been feeling a little disturbed for a few days now, at something a friend of mine said.

Actually, she’s a friend of a friend.  I’ve only met her a few times.  I’ve enjoyed chatting with her, but I really don’t know her all that well, as the following story will testify…

Seems this friend was at the office of her local cable provider.  She was in line, when a woman came in, rushing and harried, and apparently asked several people if she could go ahead of them, as she had a flight to catch.  I don’t know what the reactions were of the other people in line, but my friend apparently refused ~ and loudly.

My friend shared in this “anecdote” that she scolded the woman for being self-involved, and asked the woman what made her think that what she had to do that day was more important than the schedule of anyone else in line? 

The woman replied that she was stressed, to which my friend replied, “We’re all stressed, lady.  And then my friend gleefully reported that the woman began to cry.

I was stunned.  There was a whole group of people there at the telling of this story, and I was only overhearing the conversation, so I didn’t feel comfortable putting in my two cents, but I also wasn’t sure what I would say.  Shame on you” ?  That’s certainly what I was thinking.  I figured that would have been a little abrupt, though, not to mention butting in, so I held my tongue. 

But I was disappointed.  As I say, I don’t know her well, but what I do know did not bear out what I was hearing.  She not only attends church regularly, but she used to run the Children’s Ministry there.  And just a few summers ago she spent three weeks on a mission trip in Africa.  These are the actions of someone who believes in God, cares about others, and steps in to do things that have to be done.

But on this day, with this woman, where was her compassion?  Her understanding?  Kindness and patience are not traits we are to turn on when we're at church, or when we've got our "Christian" cap on.  And maybe my friend was having a bad day, but so was the woman trying to take cutsies.  {As we used to call them when I was a kid.}  And when two people are having a bad day, the one who is a Christian ought to stand out.

It was a good reminder to me, that what God expects of me, He expects all the time.  Failure to love others in certain circumstances might be understandable, but that doesn't make it excusable.  And when I'm having a bad day, I need to remember that someone else's might be worse.  And my kindness could be the remedy.

~ "so then, as we have opportunity,
      let us do good to everyone" ~
Galatians 6:10


  1. Unfortunately, the one who is a Christian did stand out, but not in a good way. There's an object lesson there for all of us.

    Remembering the Golden Rule would have made her hold her tongue.

  2. We all find ourselves in similar situations, and many of us have made the same mistake... Object lesson, indeed.