During a recent trip to Hobby Lobby, I happened upon a scene I wish I hadn’t witnessed.
“I TOLD YOU TO STOP!”
To my left, a young mother took a matter—and her child—in hand, her grip on his arm strong enough to lift him a few inches off the ground. In the cart, a pudgy toddler covered his head with open hands.
“He KICKED me!” the big boy accused, his free arm heavy with the weight of a Mr. & Mrs. throw pillow.
“I don’t care what he did, Brian. I told you to put that pillow down, and you’ll put it down NOW!”
Digging her nails into his other arm, Brian’s mother gave it a good shake. Easily overpowered, the indignant kindergartner released the pillow and looked around to see who was watching.
I didn’t look away fast enough.
Following his gaze, Brian’s mother saw an opportunity. Fueled by the presence of an audience, she continued, “We don’t hit people, especially our little brothers. How would you like it if I hit you, huh?”
Face red and blotchy, Brian looked down and shook his head ‘no.’
Oblivious to her son’s apparent shame, Brian’s mother kept on, her voice growing louder with every word, “How would that feel?”
Hoping with all my heart that I’d never said or done the same, I blushed deeply, right along with Brian, and hurried away.
Aisles away, I jumped in spite of myself and wondered what, exactly, Brian’s mother expected him to say, or learn, from that experience, as she had behaved at least as badly as he.
“HAH! That’s what I thought!”
The woman sounded pleased with herself, no doubt sure she’d won, but as a fellow mother, I cringed, the sensation all too familiar. It happens every single time I witness one Christian disrespect another on social media.
This should never happen!
Yes, I know my brothers and sisters and I act up sometimes, but that’s to be expected. We’re, none of us, full grown, after all. We’ll get there—God says so (Philippians 1:6)—but in the meantime, we require your patience as much as we need your wisdom and guidance.
Please, if you catch us acting like the human beings we are, I beg you to consider prayerfully the best tone and approach to take before correcting us on the public stage.
Why do so when it doesn’t seem one of us has made an effort to show the same courtesy?
Well, first of all, God says you have to. Matthew 7:12, Mark 12:31, Ephesians 4:2, Philippians 2:1-3: all of these verses—there are many more—command Christians to love one another with patience and humility, and none include the proviso “if they treat you nice first.” As a matter of fact, God the Father, commands us to act like Him, going so far as to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45)!
Second, the truth can get lost in delivery. If what you’re offering is actually truth according to God’s Word, the Bible, and not just another personal opinion, then we desperately need to hear it. Don’t rob us of the opportunity by swaddling sooth in self.
Third, people are watching.
Some are Christians. Responsible for their own behavior, they are no less dependent on the example you set as they learn how to illustrate God’s mercy—or patient restraint—and grace—or generous benevolence—in all circumstances. Your choice to exercise the kind of self-control characteristic of someone walking in step with the Spirit will remind them that they aren’t alone in their efforts to please the Father and contribute greatly to their sense of purpose and spiritual development.
Some are not Christians. Unfamiliar with the power of the Holy Spirit, not having experienced it for themselves, they need to see evidence of an extraordinary, supernatural power at work in your life. If they do, they might consider the Truth of the Gospel, secure their eternal future by putting their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, and join us in advancing the Father’s Kingdom.
Surely, when all is said and done, these outcomes are far more desirable than having a personal “drop mic” moment.