15 Aug ENGAGED
Got the opportunity to “ENGAGE” in my community today.
I didn’t plan for it. Didn’t necessarily WANT to do it but I was READY.
A woman at the checkout line was “mad” about having to show her non-exempt card to the cashier. She proceeded to curse at her, tell her how she didn’t have time to dig the card out of her purse and it was escalating.
I had a decision to make. Do I ENGAGE or will I be the BYSTANDER? A bystander is someone who is present but doesn’t get involved. THIS WORLD has LOTS of BYSTANDERS.
For me, there was no hesitation. I simply smiled at the cashier AND at the woman who had lost her temper. Upon seeing my smile, she paused and said, “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?” I will confess to you that I have had LOTS of practice at protecting myself from violence and aggression and I’m not one that is passive – EVER. So my fight instinct was raging at that moment of confrontation.
See, I have a temper. I have a button. Not just any ol’ button….A HUGE BUTTON. It’s called BULLYING! Bullies TICK ME OFF! When someone is being ugly to another human being, I get crazy angry. It pushes my button. My first reaction was to SET HER STRAIGHT about what I was looking at. Praise the Lord for the Holy Spirit within me…I simply took a deep breath (we’ll come back to this) and smiled again and asked, “Can I help you with that? I’d be glad to hold something while you grab your card.” She blinked at me. I sighed with a victorious whoosh of satisfaction knowing that a gentle word can turn any situation around.
THEN SHE LET ME HAVE IT.
Everything from my big mouth, my fat gluteus maximus, my skin color, my ugly face, my stupidity, my “number one” status (wink wink) and on and on. I heard some that I’ve never heard before and that’s saying a lot. I explained that I was willing to help but that I wasn’t going to let her swear at the cashier for something that wasn’t her fault. Let’s just say that the entire store heard every curse word that has been invented and security was called and she was escorted to her car.
And the Lord spoke to me CLEARLY.
THERE IS ALWAYS A CHOICE.
But here is the part that nobody wants to talk about or deal with.
THERE IS ALWAYS A RISK no matter WHAT CHOICE we make.
The bible has verse after verse about choices people made and the consequences of those choices…even choosing to do the right thing…doesn’t always go the way that we had hoped or planned.
Joseph did NOT have the affair with Potiphar’s wife, but in her anger, she falsely accused him of rape and he was sent to prison. Paul did nothing but share the gospel and stand for Jesus but was imprisoned and eventually beheaded. Jesus always did the right thing and He was persecuted to DEATH.
I was thankful that I didn’t get hurt or that I didn’t hurt anyone else. (smile). But I did get a good tongue lashing. It was mean, cruel and vulgar. So what was the alternative? To stand there and let the cashier get verbally assaulted and do NOTHING? We have TOO MANY BYSTANDERS. We need some more ENGAGERS. Don’t believe me? How are 1000’s of babies being killed each year? How are millions of people being forced into slavery? How is pornography, prostitution and sexual slavery the #1 money making source in the world? BYSTANDERS. Tons and tons of bystanders. Somebody knows what’s going on and is standing by and letting it happen.
Engage. But you must understand that there IS a RISK in standing up, speaking out and taking action for something or someone. Always do what the Holy Spirit directs you to do. If He tells you to walk away, then you do it. If He tells you to engage, then you do it.
1. ALWAYS BE READY
The key to this whole situation was that although I didn’t plan to encounter this, and I didn’t even WANT to engage…I was ready. I know what the word of God says. I know how Jesus wants me to respond and I know that when He presents me with an opportunity, that I will have everything I need to do what He’s asked me to do.
“Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.” – 2 Timothy 4:2
ALWAYS BE READY.
2. TAKE A DEEP BREATH
I talked earlier about the fact that before I did anything…I took a DEEP BREATH. Can I just encourage you to take a deep breath BEFORE you do anything? It’s in that deep breath that the Holy spirit was prompting, leading and guiding my thoughts, words and actions. I think of all the HUGE MISTAKES I’ve made by REACTING instead of taking a DEEP BREATH…OH how I could’ve avoided such ugly, meaningless stupid words that DID NOT come from Jesus.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH.
3. CONFRONTATION = LOVE + TRUTH
When you confront, you MUST do it in love and truth. You love first. Then you speak the truth. If you are unable to do that, then you KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. I didn’t judge her for the things coming out of her mouth. I don’t know her story. I don’t know what she’s been through and I don’t know her spiritual condition. I also didn’t just stand there and allow hurtful abusive behavior to continue. I treated both women with kindness and dignity. I spoke in love, not aggression or self righteousness or a “holier-than-thou” attitude. I’m thinking that the woman cursing probably has a better morality than I do. (Those of you that know me well, SHUT IT! No comments. hee hee) Humility goes a long way when in a confrontational situation. Both women needed love, grace, mercy, and truth. If I am unwilling to love a person, then I have no business speaking to them about anything.
CONFRONTATION = LOVE + TRUTH
4. TRUST THE RESULTS TO JESUS
You are not responsible to save anyone, restore anyone or think that YOU are anything other than a sinner – saved by the same grace that you are about to give to the people that you are confronting. Jesus restores. Jesus corrects. Jesus redeems. We get to be on His team. Don’t be a BALL HOG. Jesus is the star. He wants a relationship with that person. He wants obedience and faith from you. You are not the MVP…JESUS is. Trust Him and leave the results to Him.
There will be moments in your life where you are going to have to make a CHOICE.
Will you ENGAGE or will you be a BYSTANDER?
Are you ready? The next time that Jesus puts you in a situation where you must make a choice to engage, take a deep breath and in truth and love, confront – and trust HIM for the results.