Published August 26, 2014
"What Brought That On?"
I had a call last week from someone about a radio station that carries The Gospel Greats program. Two weeks prior this station had played one segment twice instead of the playing two different segments of the program. He was upset about not hearing the missing segment. However, what happened next totally confused me.
I had listened to the man and assured him that I was sorry this had happened. I was stunned when, in a flash, the gentleman totally redirected the conversation, called me names and started yelling at me. When this continued, I realized I had to terminate the conversation somehow. I didn't like the names or the yelling and finally kindly told him this was an inappropriate conversation. He accused me of not caring about anyone and called me names again and said he was hanging up on me. I thought, "Thank you, Lord" that this call is ending. I was about in tears when the call ended.
On my way home from work, I was talking (complaining) to the Lord about this man and the Lord spoke to my heart. (It was that still small voice that we sometimes miss.) The Lord didn't empathize with me, but asked if I was going to let the enemy steal my joy. I thought about it for a moment. I decided the enemy was not stealing my joy and I felt much better!
That same week, we had a Gospel quartet in our area. After interviewing with us, they headed off for lunch. When they reached a pizza place to get lunch, the parking lot was too small for a big group bus. The driver stopped the bus on the street, put on the flashers and four group members quickly climbed off.
As soon as the bus flashers came on, a car behind them began an incessant honking. The bus driver pulled away and the same car quickly wheeled into the parking lot, missing one group member by less than a foot. The group member went to the open window of the car and asked, "Is there a problem, ma'am?"
She began to cuss the group out and yell at them for stopping traffic. The guys explained that their large bus couldn't fit into this small parking lot and had only stopped for less than 30 seconds. The car driver told them they shouldn't be driving a bus if they don't know how to park it. One of the guys even offered to buy her lunch at the pizza place. Her reaction to that was to continue to swear at them and then rapidly wheel her car out of there.
As I thought about both of these cases, the complaints were really minor ones. No one was hurt. No one's property was damaged. The over-the-top reaction was way out of line with the minor complaint.
In each instance, I have to assume that something had happened to these individuals earlier in the day. Did someone lose a job? Did they have a fight with their spouse? Did someone close to them die? Is there sickness and fears in their own life? What is happening in their life that seems impossible to bear?
In cases like this, we need to realize the fight isn't with us individually. Then we can feel compassion for a person who is hurting to the extent of lashing out at a stranger. We can pray for the person. We can even forgive and forget.
As you meet problems today, try to see people through the eyes of Jesus. Smile. Listen. Really listen. Ask for a heart of compassion. And pray that people will see Jesus in you.
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