I Blew It

31 Aug

I did. I mean I REALLY blew it. I let my sense of right and wrong jump ahead of what I’m supposed to be. And I let all my superior social correctness spew out of my mouth. The worst part of it was seeing it happen, knowing I had overstepped, and went with it anyway.

Here’s the Skinny:
My wife and I were at a local close out store for an upper-end merchandiser. We found the few items we went there to buy and got in line. We kept our purchases at our original intent even though the store was having a major price reduction on everything. Many in the checkout line had overflowing carts, and some two. We had stood in line for several minutes before the human train advanced one person. In that time, the line had grown behind us to stretch beyond three or four inner-store blocks (aisles).

And then it happened.
A woman with her arms full motioned to someone at the back of the line to come to her. Based on family resemblance, I guessed them to be the woman’s daughter and teenage granddaughter. The woman looked at us standing in line behind her and said, “They’re with me.” Like that justified anything.

Since she initiated conversation, I said, “But that is still cutting in line ahead of everyone else who have been patiently waiting their turn.”

Her daughter looked at me with an expression that said, “What’s the matter? We’ve always done this. Everybody does.” And the granddaughter’s face held a question suggesting, “Are you saying Grandma is teaching me to do wrong?”

Three generations of bad training standing right in front of me. My inner conversation began dropping down from my brain onto my tongue like hitting a trampoline. Words kept bouncing out of my lips. They were calm and quiet, but biting satire. I wondered if making them uncomfortable would give them pause the next time they considered doing the same thing. I hoped so.

That argument was not the only one I used to justify my action. We weren’t in any hurry so their cutting in ahead of us was of little consequence. But I couldn’t say that for everyone behind us. Where was her compassion for them? Couldn’t she see her calloused arrogance? I tried to sharpen her vision.

God Spoke
I knew I went too far with the conversation after my first calling her out, but I continued to answer her every retort. When I refused to obey God’s prompting to be silent, He used a stranger in line to tell me to relax and let it go. I just smiled and said I usually do. Then when it came their turn at the register, but only one went forward, I had to add one last zinger, “I thought you said you were all together. Go forward. They just called you.”

When I had those I-could-have-said moments, I wondered how it might have played out if I said nothing more than, “Since by your confession you realize you are doing wrong, the good news is that you have time still to correct your action.” I mean, obviously the Holy Spirit was speaking to her. She spoke first, trying to justify herself. A sure sign of conviction working in her. Instead, I felt compelled to help the Holy Spirit.

He Spoke Again
Then I thought it might not have been the Holy Spirit at all. I hadn’t looked at the faces of others, and I certainly couldn’t see my expression. What if she defended her actions because of judgment written on our faces—on my face?
What if her first justification was in response to my spirit and not the Holy Spirit? To my indignation, pride, arrogance, self-righteousness—my definition of right and wrong. (NOTE: Opinions of right and wrong don’t make something so. This woman obviously saw nothing wrong with cutting in line. That does not make it right. But neither does my position on the other side of the argument make my actions right.)

Why This Is Important
This all happened before my last blog: Now What Do We Do. In fact, this experience helped me write that blog. I realized how many opportunities to be a right ambassador for Jesus plop down right in front of us all the time. When challenged to tell others about Jesus, we stutter excuses about not knowing how. We excuse ourselves by saying we are waiting for the right time, or it’s not me—I’m a teacher, not an evangelist. Lies.

I can’t put a number to the times I’ve gotten a great deal or had a remarkable experience that I had to tell everyone I met. Somehow, I could work it into a conversation with ease. Multiply that by the ones I have listened to. We have no trouble telling others fantastic news. Friends, there is nothing more amazing than being unconditionally loved.

This weekend we are celebrating the marriage of one of our daughters. My mind goes back to our own wedding forty-four years ago and the love we shared then and the deepening love over the following decades. The apostle John tells us the love of Jesus is unfathomably greater. His love is so great that it remained steadfast and unbroken as people spit on him, beat him, mocked him, falsely accused him, and eventually nailed his hands and feet to the cross. John tells us his love doesn’t stop there. Even after committing ourselves to him, telling him we will love him back and never forsake him, we break our oath. We act in despicable ways—sometimes in his name—and he is quick to forgive us because of how great his love is.

I am so glad for that. I need that because I blew it. I continue to mess up. And I keep getting reminded that Jesus is in me. When opportunities arise, I can remember how his love for me is so much greater than the infractions like line-cutting that I let irritate me. I can seize the opportunity to tell others about that love through my actions and sometimes with words. John said he gave an old commandment and at the same time a new commandment in his letter: love. America needs to see that love in these days. Purify your love in me, Lord, so I can be evidence of it to those I meet.

3 Responses to “I Blew It”

  1. jubileewriter at 8:44 am #

    grat post.


  2. Heather Roberts at 6:28 pm #

    If we are honest we can all relate to the I blew it scenario when we didn’t listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Lucky His mercies are new everyday



  1. Taught Right Wrongly or Simply Taught Wrong? | Boosterclub Blog -

    […] need to post this as an addition to the blog I titled I Blew It. You might want to read it (even if you read it before) so both blogs enhance the other. It could […]


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