This week has been full of inconveniences. From no toilet paper and longer check-out lines at the grocery stores to schools, church services, and professional sporting events being canceled. I get it. When we've made plans and expect things to be a certain way yet they don't it can be frustrating and irritating.
The most natural reaction is to make sure others know exactly how we are feeling. One way would be to honk your horn a second longer to make sure the person in front of you knows you are being inconvenienced. Or to pull your cart right up close behind the person in front of you in the check-out line because you want to make sure they see you have many fewer items in your cart so maybe they'll feel bad and let you go in front of them. Or to glare at the person who has TWO Costco packs of toilet paper and you got there just in time to hear you got there too late and they are out. Or maybe it's to laugh at the people in front of you who are walking into Costco making sure everyone hears them say they are just there for their "regular" Costco run. Or judging those who are choosing to quarantine themselves right now as fearful and not trusting of God or thinking you are better than others for choosing to quarantine yourself to protect the other. Or using Bible verses to prove your point is right.
I'm just as guilty as everyone else. I don't know what it is, but it seems when it comes to the negative feelings like frustration, anger, irritation, or impatience the knee-jerk reaction is to make sure those that caused the reaction within us KNOW they are the culprit of our feelings.
What if there was a different way? What if we were just as excited to make sure our more "positive" feelings like joy, happiness, excitement, elation, peace, love, or patience were shared with others than the negative ones? What if we were able to reign in our need to make sure others see and feel our distaste for them and focussed our energy on the light we are meant to shine?
You see, people weren't drawn to Jesus because He was angry, frustrated, irritated, or impatient. They were drawn to Him because He was different. He had authority when He spoke. He SAW people. Yes, there were those who wanted Him to heal them, but those who stuck around knew Him as not just healer and deliverer, but they knew Him as a friend, teacher, compassionate, caring, patient, and giving. They knew that He SAW them.
What if we were able to push pause on where we were headed and took the time to see those in front of us? How would our attitudes differ if we genuinely SAW people and allowed ourselves to experience what they are experiencing?
Would we able to see that that person we honked at or that person we stood directly behind in the grocery line as people we are called to be compassionate toward? Would we be able to see those stocking up on toilet paper or that person speaking extra loudly to make sure everyone hears that they are not stocking up for doomsday with love? Would we stop our judging of others and trust that God has it all under control? Would we be able to SEE others so they know that they matter too?
A Christ follower's life is full of inconveniences. The question is, how are we going to handle them? Let's remember those around us and not just those who look and act like us. Let's remember those that we consider "the other" and remember that we are all in this together. We are all human beings created by the same God who loves each and every one of us. We are all created in the image of Christ, and we are called to love even if it means we are "inconvenienced".