Sunday, January 17, 2021

Committing the sin of cutting in line! - Sermon Series #1

So anyone who is familiar with me and the teachings that I do, knows full-well that I do NOT consider myself a "preacher" in the traditional sense of the word.  I'm not the kinda guy to get up before a congregation of people and bore them to sleep for an hour!  :P  I'm a Discipleship Pastor, as such, I spend the majority of my time teaching Discipleship and correcting false teachings.

But this morning I woke up thinking to myself, "You should do a short sermon on what happened to you yesterday".  So here I am, I prayed on it, got the green light and here goes nothing!  :)

So yesterday was laundry day.  For those of you who don't know, I do laundry at a laundromat.  Everything went fine, but I had purchased a "Downy Ball" for my wash, so that fabric softener can be released into the wash automatically.  Unfortunately this particular ball is defective, so I'm going to have to go visit Wal-Mart later to see if they'll let me replace it without my receipt (who goes to the laundromat with their receipts!?).

So I finish up folding my laundry and drive over to Wal-Mart.  I get in the ridiculously long "Covid line" (that's a line, but because of Covid, instead of the line being 5-6 feet long, due to social distancing it's now 30-45 feet long!), and patiently wait my turn to be helped by the *1* customer service person working.

So it's finally my turn, she calls me forward, I wish her a good morning and then I genuinely tell her that I hope she'll be kind to me, as I came to the store KNOWINGLY without my receipt and was hoping she'd allow me to replace a defective product without the receipt in my hand.  Without even a thought, she asked me how I paid for it.  I told her I used my credit card.  She said great, go and get a replacement and come back to the register and i'll check you right out, no waiting in line.

So I had a few things I needed to get (since I was there), I picked them up and then went to get a replacement ball.  I got the ball, went to pay for the new things I picked up, then went back to customer service to finish the whole reason for my visit to begin with.

When I got to the customer service desk, the line was now closer to 60 feet long (whew) and the customer service person wasn't even there!  So I waited a few minutes and she popped up from somewhere, came over to me, saw that I had the replacement in my hand and brought me back over to the customer service desk.

No sooner do I step in front of the desk, the first person in line began FUMING.  She said to me in a not particularly kind voice, "EXCUSE ME, I DON'T KNOW IF YOU REALIZED IT OR NOT, BUT YOU JUST CUT IN FRONT OF EVERYONE IN LINE HERE.  I DON'T KNOW WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE?"  Well let me tell you, not only was I shocked at her attitude, I was really STUNNED by the fact that THE FIRST thing she could think to do was start YELLING AT ME.  As if I was a wayward child.

My friend who was with me leaned in to me, smiled, giggled and said, "Dude, she's black, I think she's mad at you for using your white privilege!".  Now before anyone jumps out of their seat or begins thinking things that aren't true, my friend is also black, and more importantly, HE WAS BEING SARCASTIC!  If there's one thing he can't stand in a person, it's IGNORANCE - No matter what color your skin is.  Ignorance in every way.  The very idea that I cut in front of her wasn't even a thought in my mind, AS I WAS INVITED TO COME BACK WITHOUT WAITING IN LINE.  The idea that she was black didn't even register, because I'm not going to lie, I didn't even notice her until she started yelling at me.  And as for having privilege because of my skin color, anyone who knows me, also knows that I think this whole "Social Justice" thing is UTTER NONSENSE.  The best part about that, is 100% of my INTELLIGENT friends agree with me, REGARDLESS of the color of their skin.

Anyway, I whipped my head around, looked her in the eyes, smiled (somehow) and said to her, "Oh, excuse me, I didn't see you there.  I know it might seem as if I've done the unthinkable and cut in front of the line, but I can assure you that I've been here for close to 45 minutes and am returning to the line as instructed by the customer service worker".  To which the customer service person turned to her and said, "It's true, I sent him to go and get what he needed and he's just coming back into the line so I can quickly send him on his way".  To which the girl in line looked down, inspected her nails and said, "I really don't care".

Well that was disappointing, I would like to think that in the face of getting the facts and the truth about the situation, that any reasonable person would willingly acquiesce and maybe even apologize for jumping to the wrong conclusion.  I suppose she just wasn't a reasonable person.  Anyway, after another moment or so, I turned back to the woman behind me (who was still fuming), and very kindly said to her, "You know, you've made me feel quite bad with the way you started screaming at me and were totally unwilling to hear both the customer service worker and myself".  To which she again looked down, inspected her nails and said, "I really just don't care".

So I turned back to finish up my situation, thanked the girl who helped me with my exchange, wished her a great and very Blessed rest of her day and again turned to the woman behind me and said to her LOUD ENOUGH for her to hear me, "I also wish you a very Blessed and great rest of your day too!"

The funny part, is as soon as I finished saying that, I could see her brow UNFURROW and the entire disposition of her very twisted face somehow turned into what I can only call "GUILT".  I walked away smiling and happy, and the looks on the faces of all the people behind her were priceless.  Everyone I laid eyes on was either smiling, laughing, giving me a thumbs-up or otherwise shaking their head at the foolishness of this woman.

I know that everyone doesn't do this, but I am a firm believer in trying to treat others like I want to be treated.  I always listen, I'm usually always VERY fair minded and reasonable too.  And while it's true that I didn't KNOW this person, I naturally assumed that people who wish to get along in a civilized society should all prescribe to a SIMILAR SET OF VALUES in order to get along with others.

I know that the stresses of life can sometimes get in the way, I know that I have no idea what was truly going on in the mind of that woman behind me.  She could have just gotten a traffic ticket, she could have just lost a loved one, she could have just broken one of those nails she was staring at! (LOL)  My attempts at trying to be polite, kind and reasonable all seemed to fail, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try.  We're all familiar with the teaching of "turn the other cheek" and we usually take that to literally mean, "when you get slapped".  But what about being "verbally slapped"?  Believe me, as loud as she was yelling, if her tongue had a hand, it would have slapped me!  But I digress, just because someone you know or don't know may treat you poorly, there's no excuse for you to ALSO treat them poorly.  We should all seek to have and maintain peace!

Matthew 5:9 - Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

I'm not going to lie, I was really upset by the way she treated me, but I kept my cool, immediately brought my thoughts to God, and without missing a beat gave her a nice big smile and tried to reason with her.  Anyway, the worst part of the entire encounter was this pernicious "I don't care" theme of hers.  This was no child, she was in her 30's.  I don't expect to hear a grown man or woman act like that.

All I could really think of after this happened was this:

Deuteronomy 28:58-59 - "If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD, then the LORD will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues --- great and prolonged plagues --- and serious and prolonged sicknesses."

LOL, I thought it in jest of course, simply because "She didn't care".  The best part of the encounter was watching her face get completely untwisted at wishing her a great and blessed day.  I think that somehow, just hearing that God was involved in my words and my attitude that it DISARMED her nuclear warheads.  I can't be certain, but that's what I think happened.  I wonder what you think?  :)

Thanks again to all of you who comment.
Thanks to all of you who subscribe.
Thanks to all who will share my teachings.
I love each of you and wish you every Blessing of God for today and the days ahead!

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