Yesterday, my wife and I took the day off from our responsibilities to spend a day away from home in a nearby large city. We did a little shopping for things we couldn't get in our own town and went out to eat. I found myself ignoring the presence of God and made some poor choices.
First, I was approached by a woman in a parking lot. She told me a story that was obviously untrue about why she needed me to give her money. Instead of praying before responding, I told her I couldn't help her, climbed into the car with my wife, and left. I could have easily have reached into my pocket and given her a dollar or two, but, without thinking or praying, I didn't do that. It wasn't my place to judge her or to refuse help, using her bogus story as an excuse. I pray that the next time I am confronted with this choice, I'll make the right one.
Next, I found myself becoming irritated by the inattention and rudeness of sales people. I refrained from repaying unprofessionalism with an angry outburst, but I never considered that there might be an underlying reason that I was not receiving the treatment to which I thought I was entitled. Perhaps there were difficulties in the lives of these sales persons that I knew nothing about. My obligation was to be compassionate, even when I was not being treated courteously. I pray that compassion will trump my sensitivity to ill treatment by others.
Today, I went to a great deal of trouble to help my dad. In the middle of my efforts, he made a very unkind, cutting remark that wounded me deeply. My initial reaction was to lash out at him. Instead, I bit my lip and sat in silence for a few moments. I thought about my anger and hurt and looked at these emotions objectively. When I replied, I explained in a calm voice why I had made the choice that he was so critical of. What could have turned into an argument, as similar situations in the past have, instead turned into a pleasant conversation, with my dad realizing that he had jumped to the wrong conclusion, and the remainder of the day was filled with peace rather than anger. I thanked God that God had spoken to me and helped me make the right choice.