“‘But to you who are listening I say: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who ill-treat you.”Luke 6:27, 28
When someone lashes out at me, my first reaction is usually concern for me. I reassure myself that I did not deserve it and I lick my wounds. I feel justified in coddling my dignity.
My love falls short of the greatest Love.
It happened the other day at Starbucks. My order was made incorrectly. It occurs occasionally and baristas are usually apologetic and accommodating. But this time was different.
I politely asked the young woman behind the counter for a correction to my drink and was shocked at the sassy reply I got in return. I tried to smooth it over with her, thinking surely there was a miscommunication, but that only made it worse. Her retort was rude and hurtful.
I retreated to the corner to wait, because although she was mean about it, she was remaking my drink. I stood there and replayed the exchange in my head. I didn’t say anything accusing. I didn’t deserve such a response.
I had placed my order from an app on my phone, so I had a copy of what I’d asked for. I pulled it up. Yes, I did it right. She made the error. I had proof. I was licking my wounds.
When my corrected coffee was ready, I tried to let bygones be bygones. I mustered extra sweetness when I said, “Thank you! I really appreciate it. Have a great afternoon!” She responded with unkindness, and I hurried out.
I got in the car and told my husband all about it. As the words came out of my mouth and I heard them, I felt God nudge me. I’d missed an opportunity. My love had fallen short of the greatest Love.
I know that hurt people hurt people. I suddenly wondered what had transpired in the barista’s day to make her so bitter. I could have cared for her and her needs instead of protecting my own.
I imagined my own daughters, who are similar to her in age. I remembered the times they had been hurtful and what had driven them to it. I suddenly wanted to cry. My new emotion was for her, not because of her.
It was too late to go back. I prayed for her instead. I prayed that her next customer was not as slow to hear God’s voice. And I prayed for me.
I asked God to recondition my responses to care for other people when they get in my face. I want to immediately seek to ease them at the source of their pain instead of taking offense. If they see Jesus instead of me, He can make an impact!
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”Luke 6:35, 36
Oh Lord, please forgive me. I thought I was being the bigger person because I was polite. But You didn’t put me there to show that I could rise above. You should have been magnified. I should have ministered, on Your behalf to the injured heart I encountered. She was precious to You and I could have shown her your healing grace. Please continue to teach me how my love falls short of Your greatest Love. Help me do better next time, in Jesus’ name.