A few weeks ago, I was at the bank paying off a car loan. I was excited and happy as I stood in line and waited my turn. A man came in behind me and I said a few words to him. He gave me a dirty look…he was SO angry. I am ashamed to say that the first thought I had (living in a world of Identity Politics) was that, “He doesn’t like me because I am white.”
I turned around and thought about him for a moment and then I began to pray for him. Really, I didn’t know why he was so angry. How many times has the bank made a mistake in my account and I have gone down there really angry? How many times have I made a mistake and gone to the bank really frustrated? Of course, the answer to those two questions is, more than a few.
It is so easy to be in a situation and judge someone else because of their attitude when I don’t have the slightest idea what that other person is dealing with. I need to extend grace to people and at the very least, try infusing a little humanity in the situation I find myself in. However, that is going to take living in a way where I don’t judge people by the color of their skin, their religious preference or their lifestyle. I may only interact with them for a few seconds, but I can infuse that interaction with love and kindness.
There was not much I could do in the situation at the bank. The man obviously did not want to talk and the only thing I could do was pray. However, there might be something I can do in another situation. I might be able to help pay for someone’s groceries if they are having a tough time paying. I might be able to buy someone a coffee or a burger if they are behind me and appear to be having a hard day.
The key will be to get out of my own head and not think that everything that is happening has something to do with me. Just like the man at the bank, there are probably extenuating circumstances that could explain why he was so angry. I will never know. I do know this one thing, though. Most people out there are having a tough time. Each person probably has at least one hard thing they are dealing with. I can’t know each individual’s story, but I can pray that God will show me how to try to infuse a little humanity into each situation I am in.