He was rude. Arrogant. And after a 30-second song and dance with this guy I was internally plotting his public humiliation.
It was 11:30am in the Costco tire shop line-up. Winter was officially upon us and we hadn’t quite beaten it to the punch by putting the winter tires back on my Jetta. We didn’t have an appointment, because as we understood it, seasonal swaps were on a first-come first serve basis.
The line-up made an L-shape as ev
eryone waited his or her turn. Dressed in dark winter clothing and smelling the hot dog fumes from the Costco cafe, Troy and I proceeded to flip through the online catalogue.
A fairly large gentleman, likely in his early 50’s, stepped into the line and clearly budded in front of us. Both Troy and I were quick to get hot and say we were next in line. The man held up his white sheet of paper – his appointment booking – as though it justified his rudeness.
“Do YOU have an appointment?” The man accusingly questioned.
“We were told you don’t need one for just switching the tires out,” retorted Troy.
“Either way, it doesn’t matter, we were here first,” I said, calmly, and we moved a couple steps closer.
He proceeded to mumble, and I’ll admit, so did we. It was a classic case of “Hello winter, Alberta”. But as the line-up dwindled, I mentally rehearsed lines of how to put this guy in his place and justify our reasoning for NOT having an appointment. Prove him wrong, that’s what we’ll do!
See, I appear a pretty nice person, but at times, I can have a running dialogue that would shock you! Part of me was pleased with myself for speaking up, saying something. It wasn’t my job to change him or how he handled the on-set of winter. It wasn’t my job to be walked over and be okay with wrong behaviour. It was in our hands to state our position and graciously stand in it.
As I sat down this morning with Bible and journal in hand, I felt the Lord speak to me to make a practice of forgiveness and repentance in my daily time with Him. I’ll admit, unfortunately, that as a woman who can say “I’ve been a Christian almost my whole life”, this is not a practice I have made enough of a habit of.
You see, I’ve always seen myself as a ‘good girl’. But even nice girls can have wrong attitudes, heart issues and roots that go way back that can cause more harm than good if not dealt with. Even ‘good girls’ have to repent of sin, and practice forgiveness and repentance.
As I pondered the word forgiveness, it made me think about what it is NOT. It is not being nice, excusing one’s actions, or being a doormat for recurring hurts. Forgiveness is more like acknowledging that there was sin. Wrong doing. Acknowledging the hurt, the pain, and the wrong behaviour.
Instead of saying, “Oh, that’s okay” and moving on, only for the hurt to creep up yeeeaaaars later because you actually didn’t deal with it; I think forgiveness is more like saying, “What you did hurt me and was wrong. But I am choosing not to react anymore, and love you as you are, where you are at, and am moving on.”
Forgiveness sees truth, and takes the higher road, even when it hurts. It doesn’t mean allowing or being okay with it to happen over and over again.
Isn’t that what Jesus did? He didn’t excuse our sin, but Romans 5:8 says he loved us at our darkest. Even while we were sinning, He chose to die for us. Jesus didn’t brush away our behaviour, but acknowledged that something needed to be made right in us.
I don’t honestly know that we handled that guy perfectly in the tire shop that day. We mumbled, yes we did, but we also stood in our place. As I personally learn how to speak up more and not just be ‘good and nice’, I feel like the step and stumble was wrapped in grace.