You walk by someone and say hello and get no response. Someone nearly runs over you with the shopping cart and doesn’t say excuse me. You almost get run off the road by another driver. Someone literally bumps into you as you are walking down the hall. You walk into a place of business and no one acknowledges your presence.
I’m sure some, if not all, of these experiences have happened to us at some time or another. We may have even been the offender in some circumstances. When something like this happens, it is easy to get upset or angry. We often respond in haste and confront the person in words, sounds or gestures. We may give the “oh no she didn’t_____ (insert offense here). However, before reacting we should take a step back and think. We don’t know what may be going on in that person’s life…
Sometimes it helps to take the focus off of us and our individual feelings. See past the surface.
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools. (Ecclesiastes 7:9 ESV)
The person you walked by who didn’t return your hello really didn’t hear you or didn’t realize your were speaking to him or her because he or she has just received some shocking news. The person who nearly runs over you with the shopping cart is so preoccupied with trying to keep up with her children and her grocery list she doesn’t even realize what has happened. The distracted driver just received a call a loved one is dying and is desperately trying to make it to the bedside. The person who bumped into you in the hall just received the news that she has a terminal illness. The person who does not acknowledge you at the business establishment is just plain having a bad day, he or she perhaps didn’t sleep a wink last night or is maybe having trouble with the boss.
Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others. (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 ESV)
Though what’s going on in a person’s life does not necessarily or always excuse his or her behavior there are other factors to consider. With an attitude of compassion instead of anger, we can easily forgive the person and move on. We may even say a prayer for them as we realize that the issue really isn’t about us. We may thank God for the wake-up call we received as we too may have been distracted while driving and the offended driver helped us regain focus. We can start to use opportunities such as these to express Christ’s love and be reminded of Christ’s love as discussed in I Corinthians chapter 13. Especially verses 4-7 that state Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; [b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Help me to put myself in others’ shoes when I may feel slighted or mistreated. Help me to understand that it is not always about me. Open my heart to pray for others who have offended me no matter how big or small the offense. Help me to allow my actions to be actions of love and not disgust or anger. Make me slow to anger and more understanding. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Sisters, I EMPOWER you to see past the surface of the circumstance and move on. I EMPOWER you to take the focus off of you and move on. I EMPOWER you to not react in haste when you feel as though you’ve been done wrong. I EMPOWER you to act in love.
Mrs. Coretta Collins is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, writing, movies and spending time with family and friends. She is avid about health, healing and helping which serves her well as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a hematology and oncology practice. Striving to be led by the Lord throughout life and having overcome significant challenges, her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Coretta is a member of St. John A.M.E. Church in Birmingham, Alabama. She resides in Calera, Alabama with her awesome husband and two wonderful sons.