Last Sunday morning, I was up and out pretty early. I had a few errands I needed to run and I prefer to get things done earlier in the day. It had been a good week, the weather was a bit cooler and the errands I needed to run were all pretty short and were at a few different places around Birmingham and Hoover. (And I actually enjoy going several places when I need to run errands – if I can’t get everything at one place, I like to go to 3 or 4 different places. It’s a nice time to just drive around, listen to a few podcasts and relax, especially if the roads aren’t too busy.) So the day was looking to be a good day.
Before I got started, I decided I wanted to get some breakfast out. I went to two places, only because the place I got food didn’t have the drink that I wanted that morning. I went to get my food first. The drive-thru line was pretty long but it went at a good speed and I was in no hurry. While I waited for my food to be made and brought out, I chatted with the cashier. He talked about how people had generally been pretty kind that morning, but the day before he had experienced a lot of people who were inpatient and sometimes pretty rude. So today he was just going to match the attitudes of people he came across. If you were kind to him, he’d be kind to you. If you were not so kind, he’d meet you there.
At first, that didn’t sound like too bad of an idea – it’s hard to be kind when people aren’t being kind to you, especially if you’re having to continue being kind to person after person who is just letting you have it about something you aren’t even able to control. But I got my drink, wished him the best of luck with the rest of his day and went on to the next place — which was a totally different story.
All I wanted here was a drink, the restaurant lobby was closed and the drive-thru line was really long. So I decided to make a mobile order. I go ahead and pull into a space and tried to make the order but was having issues with it going through. As I’m about to give up and go through the drive-thru, one of the workers comes out and says she noticed I was in a curbside space but they weren’t able to find any orders. I let her know what was going on and said I’d just go through the drive-thru since I couldn’t get the order through and she offered to go ahead and bring me out a drink. She came back quickly and let me know what a crazy day they were having – they were very short-staffed, the lines were taking longer than normal, people were yelling at them and calling in to yell while they were in line, but she was trying to stay positive and help how she could and keep a “kind, loving and God-honoring attitude.”
How different from the first person I encountered. It’s easy to be kind when others are treating you well. It’s not nearly as easy to keep that same attitude when you’re being yelled at. But if we are to be acting like Christ, we aren’t called to act as others act towards us.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive” (Col. 3:12–13).