I hope you all had a chance to read Rebecca’s post last week. It was an honest assessment of a minor incident she witnessed that involved me, while we were staying in a hotel over this past July Fourth weekend. Rebecca’s analysis was quite insightful, even though it caused me to experience a bit of discomfort when she described my part in it. Here’s a quick recap of what happened.
The “do not disturb” sign on my hotel room door kept disappearing from the door handle of my room each night. I was diligent to put the sign out on the door handle every evening; but, by the morning, it was gone. Now, this sign was important to me because it kept the housekeepers from disturbing me early in the morning. With the disappearance of the sign, I was awakened by loud knocks on the door from the housekeepers early each day. Needless to say, I was perturbed! I love to sleep in on vacation!
At the end of our stay, I was finally able to solve the mystery of the disappearing door sign. I discovered that the neighbors across the hall from my room were taking the sign and putting it on their own door each night. (I have no idea why they needed a new sign every night, but you can read all the details in Rebecca’s post from last week).
I retaliated by taking my sign back and concealing it, hoping that the housekeepers would disturb the neighbors instead. This seemed to me to be a reasonable and justified response to their offense. Isn’t that what most people would do in this situation, I thought to myself at the time. I felt no remorse about this unloving response….until I read Rebecca’s evaluation of the situation, that is.
Once I reflected on Rebecca’s perspective, I reconsidered my own position. Clearly, Rebecca’s response (which was to overlook the offense of the sign snatching) was the unconditional loving one. Mine was not. I had to wonder why there was such a difference in viewpoints. As usual, when conflicted, I went to prayer to see how God felt about it all. (Did I really need to ask? Naturally, He would agree with the U Love point of view.) Here is what He showed me about my outlook in this circumstance.
I was reminded of a story in the Bible. Beginning at Luke 18:9, the narrative describes two men who go into the Temple to pray. The first man’s prayer was all about himself and how Godly he was. The Bible calls him self-righteous. The second man prayed from a distance, realizing he was a sinner who needed mercy from God. God’s favor was upon the second man who humbled himself before God, rather than upon the first man who exalted himself.
So, what did this have to do with me and the vanishing “do not disturb” sign? A lot! As I sat praying, God explained to me that I had felt no remorse for my unloving response because I had felt justified in retaliating. Who did they think they were to take my sign, I remembered thinking at the time? Hmm, it sounded a bit self-righteous, just like the first man in the story. Uh, oh, that man did not get favor from God, something I greatly desire.
The Lord then proceeded to show me, in His loving manner, that I have exhibited this self-righteous way of thinking on other occasions. I knew He was trying to make an attitude adjustment within me. And, I knew He was right on, as I reviewed in my mind the all too many instances where I had lacked mercy to others, because I was too focused on my own self-righteousness. I immediately felt repentant, as I readily agreed with God’s assessment.
Obviously, now I think differently about the whole “do not disturb” sign fiasco. I would not react to the sign snatching the same way I did before; but, instead, I would take Rebecca’s suggestion to turn the other cheek. Although, I can’t promise I will not get annoyed in future situations, I do realize that retaliation would not be the solution. Showing unconditional love is always the proper response.
So, mission accomplished….attitude adjustment successfully achieved. And, in this case, the child teaches the parent. Kudos to Rebecca for her willingness (and courage) to stand up for U Love!
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