One time when I was in seventh grade, there was a solar eclipse and my friend Wade and I decided to use it as an opportunity to crank call the local TV station (to the millenials: “crank calling” is something you used to be able to easily do before the miraculous advent of “caller ID.”)
About 30 minutes after the eclipse ended, we repeatedly called WDAM, the local TV station. And in about 20 different voices, we asked the same secretary if the eclipse had happened yet. You would not believe the woman’s response.
Every single time, she politely said, “Unfortunately, you just missed it. Thanks for calling.” At the time, we thought we were just that good at our different voices, but the other day I remembered what we did, and I realized the secretary had to have known it was a couple of idiotic boys on the line. She was being gracious.
Sometimes my kids ask me for things over and over again; sometimes I get profoundly bad customer service; and sometimes I have to deal with jerks who keep acting like jerks even after I’ve tried to be polite. And eventually, after I’m annoyed enough, I give myself permission to push back. I change my tone, tighten my jaw, and sigh with frustration.
My sincere prayer is that God would give me grace to walk in the Spirit, so that when I’m feeling frustrated with people, I’ll show as much grace to them as the secretary at WDAM showed to me. I may not get the satisfaction of showing the world how important I think I am, but those people will get the satisfaction of experiencing Jesus in real life.