We all have encountered rude people along the way, right? However, God requires us to love them anyway. The other day, I went to a store and made a purchase. When I looked at my receipt, I had been overcharged by $7.50! I went to the store manager to complain. He saw that there apparently was a computer glitch, and said he would refund the money. We went to the register and after the transaction was made and I signed the required paperwork, he handed me my merchandise and said, “Have a nice night.” That was it. No apology. Nothing. I was hot. I thought to myself, “How Rude!”
The next week in Bible study we talked about I Corinthians 13, the part where it says, “Love thinketh no evil.” After that, the Lord brought back to my remembrance the incident at the store. I definitely had not walked in love internally, or in my thoughts. I calmly told the gentleman how I felt about the way he treated me, I didn’t yell, scream, curse, or called him names, However, I thought evil of him. Externally, I was OK, but internally I was not. I am a customer service person myself, and I have to admit that I judged him severely for his blunder. Wrong.
I asked the Lord, how could I have handled it better internally? These were the tips I gleaned from the Bible Study to apply to this situation:
- FOCUS ON THE “WHY?” When someone is rude, I need to shift the focus from the what, the behavior I see, to the why behind the behavior. I should have immediately thought, “He’s not a bad person, he just has not been taught good customer service skills. He can’t do better than his training allows.” Or, “He’s tired and not thinking properly. When I’m tired, I may not be at my best either.” Or, “He has no idea who he is in Christ and to admit his wrong and experience the condemnation that comes with it is probably too painful for him to handle.” If I can come up with a feasible explanation in my mind, then my tolerance level increases.
- RESPOND IN LOVE. Even when they are rude, we should always respond in love. A soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1), even if it’s just, “God bless you.” The Bible says we should love, bless, pray for and do good to them that treat us poorly (Matthew 5:44). We can respond by communicating and empathizing with them, then give a loving response of a non-judgmental attitude. Remember, if it weren’t for the help of Holy Spirit we’d probably be acting like them.
- PRAY. Actually, prayer should be done from beginning to end. Pray that God will show you a word of knowledge about why that person is acting the way they are. If you get an understanding, you will feel more compassionate, and your feelings and behavior will be in line with God’s will. Pray for the grace to respond correctly and act like the Christian you profess to be. Finally, pray for the person to grow and change the way the Lord desires.
This is a tall order, isn’t it? We can’t do this alone. We must depend on the Holy Spirit to help us make this transition. God is calling us to come up higher, Saints, He is calling us to maturity. So the next time someone is rude to you and your flesh rises up wanting to respond in kind, remember to shift your focus to the why behind the what. Walk in love, and pray fervently in your mind for the help of the Holy Spirit. Your thoughts must line up with the Word which says, “Love thinketh no evil.” When you take the focus off yourself, your feelings, your ego, and your self-interests and focus on the needs and best interest of those around you, then you will truly be loving your neighbor.
What have you learned in your travels about handling rude people? Please leave a comment below.
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