Let me begin with a confession. A few weeks ago I was in Wal-mart.
It was a Sunday morning and we had taken our kids after church to shop for our church food pantry which was in need of items to fill the shelves.
The incident occurred on the juice aisle.
We were filling our cart, scanning back and forth from our list to the shelves all while explaining to the kids why Spaghetti-O’s were never a good idea. I backed up to get a better view of our choices when I bumped into a woman’s cart cruising the aisle. She curtly replied, “Do you always back up without looking?”
Stammering and apologizing and removing my flip flop from under her cart wheel I watched her roll away…”I’m sorry…uh…OK…well then…” She’s gone down the aisle; the spinning stops and everyone frozen in time for that moment returns to normal. I feel something rise inside of me. Volcanic ash, ready to spew. I hear myself say to no one, “I’m sorry…Yes I probably do…Costanza!”
Now the volcano finding a crack, erupts. I begin a bit of a tirade to my wife, just loud enough to be dangerous:
Yes, I do back up without looking. It’s my right as an American.
Do you always drive your cart down an aisle not looking for people?
Do you always wear pants that are too tight?
Do you always talk to people rudely?
Do you always wake up with that personality?
Do you always run over Pastors shopping for a church food pantry?
Do you…do you…do you?
What in my nature is so perverse? Why does this volcano erupt? For what gain? No doubt I have a twisted sense of humor and poking fun at people is an easy quip. But this goes deeper. The bubbling, hot, liquid magma is Shame…feeling exposed and stupid and wrong…all over a simple bump into a cart.
I’m growing and changing as the Holy Spirit transforms me by renewing my mind. A few years ago I would have let that poor woman know how I felt rather than swallowing my cocktail of shame and pride.
I’m not superior, I am human. The only way I can prove my humanity and validate hers is with a kind and humble response. Ouch…that is hard. But I will be obedient to the Lord and look for accountability from those around me to love others (even demolition derby shopping cart drivers) because Christ first loved me.
Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. James 2:12 MSG