As you get older and wiser and go through life we all meet those occasional people who make you look at them bewildered and wondering, "Who put a bug in their soup?" You know what I'm talking about - the person who right off the bat is either having an extremely bad day or they just have a plain old-fashioned nasty attitude.
Today I chose to keep Lizzie home with me, because she's not looking so hot - kind of like the stress and strain are getting to her a bit more than normal. So she helped me run a few errands and on our way back down the alleyway to our apartment we discover a large U-Haul van blocking the alley that gives us access to our apartment and our parking spot. So I talked to Lizzie and we rehearsed how she needed to ask nicely if the person would please move their van. What we got was a full cup of straight up nasty woman. I went to talk to her and instead of being nice, even though I was polite, she swore at me and called me some names and tried to convince me that our apartment manager had told her she could park the truck there. Now I've only lived in this apartment a week, but I know our manager well enough that she did not tell this woman that. So I had to back out of the alley and park up at the top of the hill. This wasn't a terrible thing since I needed to drop off our rent check anyway and I'd forgotten to stop. And after discussing the situation with Cindy - she was nice enough to allow me to leave my van parked in the visitor parking and explained that the young woman was being evicted for the sad attitude she had displayed.
Here's the question - what do you personally do when you are confronted with a person with a nasty attitude towards you? How do choose to handle it? Do you get nasty back or do you just shake your head and say a prayer for them.
In honesty, I told her I remembered her from yesterday - we'd had a talk in the parking lot at Safeway just the day before. She had come out swearing and I had Beka with me. I asked her to please keep her mouth clean - the F-bomb does not need to be in my daughter's vocabulary - nor does taking God's name in vain. She wasn't very nice then either. I told her I hoped she got an attitude adjustment rather soon, because she needed it. Then as I was able to walk off some of my steam, I realized she must be one very unhappy young woman. She acted as if the world owed her something and that must be a rather disappointing way to live your life - because the world tends to think you owe it more than it owes you. So I'm sure she is finding that life is less than stellar for her these days with an attitude like that. So as I thought about it, I found myself praying for her instead. Asking God to please find a way to show himself into her life, because when you are that unhappy you obviously need God in your life (we'll debate the semantics of that statement another time please). I also prayed that she would have safe travel and be happier in her new home wherever it might be and that God would keep her safe from harm and bless her life richly. It's funny - when you begin praying for people in that way how it doesn't just affect them eventually, but it also affects you. It changes how you see them, it also may change how you deal with them on a daily basis.
So the next time you find yourself confronted by an angry and foul mouthed person take a deep breath and pray for them instead. It isn't always easy I know. Trust me I know, my first reaction is usually not to pray for them. Yet, I find that when I do pray for them I don't feel quite so angry with them in the long run.
Happy Easter and I hope you all have a good Good Friday.
Love in Christ,