For the past two weeks, I have been divulging to you a murky moment in my walk with God, a situation in which I, sadly, failed to show God’s unconditional love. I’ll rely on you to fill yourself in on the saga by checking out the previous two posts. You’ll see that, in these particular circumstances, I seriously neglected to demonstrate the U Love principles, which are set out pretty clearly in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13: 4. These are the values I have chosen to live by (and are also the basis for this blog). That’s all the more reason for me to regret my recent failure.
Love is patient and kind. It does not envy or boast. It is not proud or rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs. It does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. LOVE NEVER FAILS!!!!!!
It’s apparent that when I was dealing with the women in my story, I ignored many of these U Love guidelines. I clearly was not patient or kind to the women as I sought in a self-seeking manner to claim the pool chairs for my own family. I certainly was rude as I continued to make unkind remarks about the women after the argument subsided.
By not being willing to forgive them and by continuing in passive-aggressive anger against them, I was keeping a record of how they had wronged me. And, admittedly, I became easily angered by the whole situation. My response to the women was to retaliate rather than to show unconditional love.
I would say I failed at unconditional love in this poolside predicament. Bummer! I did it again. But…all hope is not lost. I quickly realized the error of my ways. It was only a few days later that I was able to redeem myself, not with these same women, but in a similar situation. Here’s what happened.
My family and I were back at the pool, once again looking for lounge chairs that would be perfectly angled for tanning in the sun. We spied three empty chairs and got to them rapidly. We knew that we had to claim those chairs quickly, or risk losing them to someone else who got to them faster. After all, I certainly didn’t want a repeat of the unpleasant episode from a few days prior. (Whew! And, I thought vacations were supposed to be stress free!)
We immediately secured the three pool chairs that were sitting right next to one another, so we’d be able to sit together as a family, just as we wanted. Yahoo! We overcame the first hurdle! Unfortunately, there was one minor problem. The chairs were not facing the sun for maximum sun bathing. A simple solution became apparent. We surmised that by moving each chair a few inches to the right, we would be exactly in the spot we wanted. Of course, moving our chairs would require us to move the chairs next to ours. That seemed simple enough. But, I was wrong, again.
As we began to slide the chairs over, three young women began yelling at us from across the pool. Surprised at the noise, we stopped what we were doing to see what the fracas was all about. We saw the women running towards us screaming that we should not touch their things. We hadn’t touched anything belonging to them, so I didn’t know what they were upset about. What was their problem, I wondered? I could feel annoyance rising up inside of me. I started having flashbacks to the incident a few days prior. Oh no, here we go again, I thought. Yikes!!! Why are people so possessive about pool chairs???
As in the previous situation, I knew I had a choice to make about how to respond to these women. I also knew that I wanted this outcome to be different from the last one (at least from my end). That could only happen if I applied the U Love principles to this situation. So, I got my feelings under control and answered with a big smile, “We were just moving the chairs over a few inches. Don’t worry. We didn’t touch your things at all.”
Now, be aware that when you do the right thing, you don’t always get a positive response. In this case, I did not get the pleasant response for which I had hoped. The women grumbled and complained about our repositioning of the chairs (as minimal as it was), and about the possibility that we might have touched their personal belongings (which we had not). They were really quite rude to us after that.
It took a great amount of self control on my part to remain at peace with these surly women; but, I stayed calm. They, on the other hand, spent the rest of the afternoon with their backs towards us, sneering at any slight interaction with us. Actually, these women were treating me like I had treated the two women in the previous incident. It made me wonder if I was reaping what I had sown.
Even though I was never able to engage the women in civil conversation that day, I had shown them U Love anyway, and, so, I would call this a personal success. Of course, I had traveled through some muddy waters to get to this point, but I did succeed at my goal of showing unconditional love to the unloving. I felt good about the outcome.
I’m hoping my honesty in sharing this story was meaningful to you all. I have often learned practical ways to make changes in my life through another person’s foibles. I’m counting on the fact that this is the case here! Have a great week! See you next time! Join our U love chain here!