Matthew 22: 36-40
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
We have a choice every day how we will treat other people. In fact we actually have to make that choice on a regular basis; how will you treat your coworkers, how will you treat your family, how will you treat your friends, what about the cashier at the grocery store or the waitress, every where you turn you have the opportunity to either be hateful, indifferent or show the love of Christ!
In my life, I have been a cashier, a waitress, worked in fast food restaurants as a teen, worked in sales at a resort etc. I have worked with the public all my life and believe me I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly! I have watched people go out of their way to complain until they got something for free ~ shame on them! I have watched some people who were being treated poorly by their server be kind and gracious. The list could go on and on for a long time, but the point is we have a choice which one of those people we will be, well at least we seem to think we have a choice! The verses above are part of the Ten Commandments that God gave Moses to give to the Jews, they are not the Ten Suggestions, they are commands from God!
There are many little opportunities in life that we have to be gracious and show the love of God. Yesterday for example; I dropped Bill and Paul off at the airport to pick up a rental car and on the way home I was starving and very thirsty for some reason. I stopped at a fast food restaurant and ordered something to eat and an Unsweet tea. Unsweet, you say unsweet tea in the south or you will get tea that is sweet enough to give you diabetes! Actually I have had sweet tea and it isn’t bad, but if you are looking for something without sugar because you are thirsty, sweet tea is definitely not on your list! I drove up to the window and asked the young man as he handed me my tea, “this is Unsweet, right?” And he said, “yes, mam it is!” So, I put the straw in and took a nice long sip of the tea and oh my, it was the sweetest tea I had tasted in a long time! Let me tell you that is a shock to your brain as well as your pallet! I held the drink out toward the window and the manager saw me so as he was coming to the window I saw the young man look back at the tea containers and turn the other way. The manager asked me what was in my drink and I laughed and told him it was sweet and was supposed to be unsweet, we both laughed and he said the young man was so embarrassed he couldn’t even look at me. We both laughed and I said, “well if getting sweet tea instead of unsweet is the worst thing that happens to me today, I would say that is a pretty great day!” His response was, “well, it is nice to see someone who can laugh and smile at a mistake for once!” IT WASN’T A BIG DEAL to me, but it was to them because they are used to people’s anger when there is a mistake made! You always have a choice! I could have been irritated, I had double checked because I was thirsty but what would either of us have gained by my getting angry over something that little?
Now, that was a minor situation, but we have the same choice in bigger situations! Don’t get me wrong, there are times when you are going to get angry, but you can still be self controlled and not flip out acting irrational! The fruit of the Holy Spirit is self control, we all need to pray for that every day!
We have the opportunity in every situation to show the love of God or to express our “rights”. We need to be careful that in everything we stop and ask ourselves how God would want us to respond. Be kind, show God’s love, take the time to show His love on purpose to those around you! Instead of being critical of that person at work, show the love of God and help them. Do your best in this dark world to be the “light” that is only found in him!
“He who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” Saint Basil