Today I was a jerk. As I look back on my day’s behavior I genuinely rue something I did. It was totally thoughtless. A little girl and her mother were sitting at a table selling Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scouts are always a good excuse for buying cookies. It gives me an altruistic cover for indulgence. What I regret is not the purchase of the cookies. It was who I bought them from. I totally ignored the little girl and focused on the mother for the purchase. Any thoughtful person would have realized this transaction was about the little girl. I never addressed her. I should have talked to the child. The cookies were hers. Alas.
I am wondering how many times I have classified someone as a jerk because of their behavior when what they did was innocently thoughtless. I was a jerk and could rightfully be so classified. But I don’t want to be a jerk and I am sure the people I so label also do not want to be one. Jesus is the best psychologist in the world. His counsel is so on target. He tells us not to judge others. Usually we do it on the smallest of details. The events are usually out of context or out of character for the one we so quickly brand.
One time I did just the opposite. Upon meeting a lady and her children I focused mainly on the children. Later she asked me why I was angry with her. I wasn’t. I just didn’t do it right. Sometimes one feels like they can’t win. I need to be more gracious to others because I want them to be gracious to me for my acts of thoughtlessness, which I am sure, occur more often than I know.
Written by Roger Bothwell on January 27, 2014
Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574