Yes, Jordon, I am so sorry and sad to hear that someone was rude to you at work. Walking past you, ignoring your cheery hello while you gather shopping carts, making you feel insignificant.
I know you don’t see this, but when others hurt you, it hurts my heart, too, the same as if it was directed to me. You are my son, and though not born from my flesh, you were born and are carried in my heart. You are part of me. You, who love all people indiscriminately, how can I teach you to develop a thick skin and keep a tender heart with people?
You wonder why others are rude. You ask me if it is because you have autism? Is it because you are biracial? Is it because you are slow? Because of your shoes? Because. because, because ….. you can drive yourself crazy speculating and still arrive at a wrong conclusion. It is not a good road to walk down. Trust me.
I can’t honestly answer why, and without making light of your hurt, I wonder how much it actually matters in the bigger picture. I know how easy it would be to allow your feelings to ‘give it back’ to them. Offendedness only breeds more of the same. I hear it in the news. I see it all around me. People getting offended, often based on wrong conclusions. Some people feel justified in being rude -and worse. It takes a person of great courage to refuse that path, to seek to be unoffendable, and stay on the right path. The path of loving kindness. Because no matter how others react, you are called to return rudeness with kindness and hatred with love. You know a better way. You show kindness because you are a kind person. Remember this: you do it because it is who you are and who you are called to be. You are not defined by others, nor should you return evil for evil and therefore change who you are by following their ‘example’ – and thus become like them. Then they have won. Evil has won. And you have lost yourself.
You are better than that.
Notice, I didn’t say you are better than them. But how about we stop the emotional train and put our minds in gear – and deliberately choose to think the best. It is a choice – your empowered choice – to give the benefit of the doubt. To treat others like you would like them to treat you. To not judge, or draw conclusions which may be inaccurate. Just maybe they had a rough day at work and are duly focused on getting home. Maybe they have a sick child at home and are going through a mental list of what they need to get before they head home. Maybe they are hard of hearing and honestly didn’t hear your greeting. Maybe they have had a bad day or bad news or a bad life and do not have the capacity to politely return pleasantries. People can only give you what they have. And just maybe they have a mean streak and are rude, like some can be when you are desperately trying to bag their groceries and they become disrespectful and impatient – and let you and others know. You have experienced that many times before. If so, it is their problem, their life, their choice – not yours. Don’t make it yours.
Because whatever the case, your response is actually to be the same.
Be yourself. Be kind. Be Jesus to them. Give them what they cannot – or choose to not – give you. Pray the gift of a silent blessing over them – it is a beautiful secret between you and God.
Be the light in a dark place. You will feel better about yourself if you walk this road. And quite possibly it will be contagious. You could be the spark of something big and positive, rather than following the circular path of hurt and offendedness that leads away from light and into bitterness and blaming and shaming others. Don’t go there.
Know that whatever hurts your heart, hurts mine, yes, but hurts God’s too. After all, He not only designed you to be just the way you are, He also is family. He is your Father and intimately connected to you. He knows how you feel and has been slighted by many. He honestly feels the pain you feel in ways no one else can. He loves all people, as He is the One who created each of us and delights when we show love and honor to one another, and grieves when we don’t. Yet He continues to show love and grace no matter what. Wouldn’t you rather choose His path of love than the path of rudeness anyway?
You are loved by the greatest Being in the universe. You are treasured in His heart and He has given you a purpose and destiny to make a difference in the world. You can do great things. Things for good.
It all begins with today’s decisions, one by one, to walk in love. Walk in forgiveness. Walk in grace. Walk in the light. And don’t allow a few to take away from the joy you experience with most. Most people are friendly and kind to you.
Do this and you can walk with your head high; you will walk in victory.