I was recently on vacation and purchased some whole bean espresso coffee to make specialty drinks for my family. The coffee shop had just run out of coffee bags so the lady behind the counter had to sell them to me in 12 ounce plastic cups with lids.
After getting home I happened to think, “These cups measure 12 liquid ounces, which is quite different from 12 ounces by weight.” So I put the coffee on my scale and sure enough, it measured 19 ounces when I had paid for 24 ounces. I thought, “No problem, I’ll just make a quick phone call and explain the situation. I am sure they will make it right.”
I called the coffee shop and a different person than the one who sold me the coffee answered the phone. I explained my situation to the lady on the other end, who really didn’t seem to care all that much about my dilemma. In fact, it appeared she didn’t care at all. I asked to speak to the lady who sold me the coffee and the lady on the phone said, “She is not here right now.” I asked, “Okay will she be in the shop tomorrow?” to which the lady replied, “I don’t know.” “Is there a schedule you can look at or someone you can ask?” I questioned. She replied, “Hang on.”
I felt my frustration building. What I wanted to do next was to walk in that coffee shop and show that lady a picture of planet earth and say, “Wish you were here!” The lady didn’t care. I had a right to be frustrated. I had a right to speak my mind.
That’s when it hit me: the lady on the other end of that phone was not just a voice fielding my frustrations, she was a person made in the image of Christ, a real life person with real life feelings just like I have. Who knows what she was dealing with in her own personal life? Who knows if she was depressed or dealing with the loss of a loved one during the Christmas season? I had an opportunity here, one to show the character of God, an opportunity to be Christ like in this time of frustration. The lady returned to the phone call and said the one who sold me the coffee would be in tomorrow.
I’m certain that the lady on the other end hung up the phone and waited on the next customer without even thinking twice about the interaction we just had. But I did. I’m thinking of it right now. I’m thinking when the opportunity presents itself to be easily angered or frustrated with others I have two choices: lash out at the party on the other end because I have every right to, or take a minute to think about the person on the other end as a human being, made in the image of Christ, who is dealing with their own set of circumstances. Only one of those choices displays the character of God.
1 Corinthians 13:5
"[Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."