No, I did not know her, but that did not stop me from feeling justified in my aggravation. Ultimately, the reality was I did not know her, but should that intercept the foundational principle that she should be treated with dignity, respect, civility, kindness, and compassion? I didn't know anything about--her story, what she may be facing, what kind of day she was having. I knew nothing. Yet, I drew a conclusion based on a superficial, temporary interaction. She was doing her job after all, wasn't she? Perhaps not stellar Employee of the Month level, but she was doing her job proficiently. As I warred over my own attempts to rationalize, the word of God bubbled in my heart, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32).
I found that almost instantly my perspective changed; I was moved with compassion. I found myself praying for her with sincerity. I prayed that her day would be blessed, that God would supply her every need, that he would keep her and her family safe and healthy, that she would walk in supernatural joy and peace. As our interaction concluded, I thanked her and smiled genuinely. She mumbled a response without eye contact and quickly turned to go the next customer.
We are living in desperately challenging times--a global pandemic, unprecedented gun violence, racism, discrimination, economic woes, political upheaval and divisiveness, to name but a few. Things are difficult on so many levels, but what if we all did our part to walk in compassion, kindness, and empathy? What if we all took a measure of the compassion that God gives each of us daily (Lamentations 3:22-23) and applied it to our interactions with our brothers and sisters as stated in Ephesians 4:32? It is a spiritual discipline that is deliberate and intentional. If we all decided to embrace this challenge would our world be different?
Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank you that even in times of difficulty your word remains constant and uncompromising. You call upon us to be kind and compassionate to one another. Thank you that within your word is the grace and the capacity to carry it out. We thank you that each day you give us new mercies and new compassions. Thank you for the opportunity to apply the measure of compassion that you have given us to our brothers and sisters. We receive the blessing of compassion as we interact with others. May our speech, attitude, demeanor, actions, and thoughts be reflective of your mercy, grace, kindness, and compassion. In Jesus' name. Amen