By Michelle Cox
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted… Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)
It’s been more than fifty years ago, but I remember the moment as if it just happened. My mother and I had been shopping in the children’s department at one of the big stores downtown. The sales clerk had been less than helpful while we were there. She took forever to ring up the sale, and was distant and snippy while she did it.
Before we left the store, my mother found the manager of the department. She told in detail about the clerk’s rude behavior, how she’d snapped when Mom asked her a question, and how slow she’d been about helping us that day.
This is the part I’ll never forget, even though I was just a child when it happened, and even though it’s been so many years ago. The manager apologized and then she quietly said, “Her mother is dying. She can’t afford to take off work and she’s waiting for the call.”
Whew, that still brings tears to my eyes when I think of it. Friends, we never know what other people are going through.
The man who drives you nuts as he walks slowly in front of you at Walmart might be healing from the injuries caused by the car wreck that almost took his life.
That dad who was short-tempered with his child when she asked to buy a toy might have just lost his job and he’s wondering how he’s going to buy bread and peanut butter so his children won’t go to bed hungry that night.
That person in customer service who messed up your order might be distracted because of a prodigal child who is breaking his heart.
The cranky elderly lady next door might be lonely or fretting as she tries to decide if she’s going to have food or her blood pressure medicine that month—because she can’t buy both.
We just don’t know.
Can you imagine how different our world might be if instead of becoming impatient or angry, we’d just show grace?
Father, next time someone is rude to me or irritates me, help me to show grace. Help me to see them through your eyes. Give me a kindness and compassion that goes beyond understanding. You’ve shown me grace on so many occasions. Help me to show that grace to others. Amen.
Michelle Cox is a speaker and the bestselling author of Just 18 Summers, God Glimpses from the Jewelry Box, and God Glimpses from the Toolbox. Visit her at GodGlimpses.com and www.Just18Summers.com. You can follow her at Michelle Cox Inspirations on Facebook and on Twitter @michelleinspire.