Picture this: you’re having a bad day. Someone asks you a question and you immediately snap at them. Did they deserve that response? No. Did they snap back at you? Most likely yes.
Perhaps it’s human nature. Or how we’re raised. Or just our own selfish attitudes that immediately tell us to treat others how they are treating us.
Whatever happened to the golden rule?
Do unto others as you would have done to you.
We live in a world where being kind to someone for no reason, much less being kind when we’d rather retaliate, is nearly non-existent. And perhaps, dare I say, it’s even rarer to find among the Christian groups/people?
I found myself in this exact situation last week. I had received horrible news that morning that a dear friend, someone I loved very much, had been in a horrible accident and was clinically brain dead.
I mustered enough strength to make it through work that morning. But by lunch, all I could think about was getting away, if even just for a moment.
So I took myself to lunch. As I sat there, all of those emotions from the morning began to well up inside of me. Then after sitting there for 10 minutes with no waitress, another emotion came up: anger. I had a very limited amount of time for lunch and I didn’t have time to waste waiting on a non-existent waitress.
Shortly there after she finally showed up and I was quick to quip a snarky remark about it.
But she didn’t retaliate.
She apologized profusely and very honestly.
She never even hesitated to return my anger with genuine kindness of her own.
I left there thinking of this encounter for the rest of the afternoon.
That waitress had no idea what I was going through, the emotions I was dealing with. And not that it made my actions justifiable, but her kindness did something to me. It changed me.
I honestly contemplated going back by the restaurant after work to hug that waitress and apologize for being rude.
The Word says: A gentle answer deflects wrath, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1 NLT
I’m still dealing with my own grief, guilt, and what-ifs over the death of my friend, but it doesn’t give me a free pass to take it out on others. And I know for sure, next time someone snaps at me, my first thought will be (or at least should be) – I wonder what they’re going through and how can I help them?
You never know – that person might be dealing with the death of someone they loved dearly. They might be dealing with more than you or I could ever fathom.
Don’t be quick to judge. Don’t be quick to retaliate. Don’t return anger with more anger. Love them. Be kind to them. Do unto them as you would want done unto you.
As I prepare to say goodbye to my lifelong friend, I hope to be that kindness to someone else some day. I hope to be the kindness of a stranger in this world.