Turning Bad to Good
Today I was not my better self. I found myself in a situation where I felt my rights had been violated. What did I do? I exploded on the perceived perpetrator.
The scene was haggling over who was there first for a parking space. Sound familiar? I hope you did better than I did. When the guy crossed in front of me into the space I had been waiting for, I honked. No response. I honked again. Nothing. I sat on my horn.
At that point a little family was getting out of their car across from the contested parking spot. They began to yell at the man who had taken the spot. He yelled back. As he then walked past my vehicle, I said out the window that I had been waiting. He said he was there first and he proceeded with a threat, “I have your license number!”
My yucky self said, “Someday this will happen to you.” He kept walking into the medical building. I kept circling for a spot. After parking, I actually encountered the man who had already conducted his business—it looked like he was dropping something off—and was returning to his car.
I stopped him with the calm and genuinely curious question, “What made you think what you did was right?” He responded that he was there first and saw when I drove up. He continued by complaining how that man and wife kept verbally haranguing him all the way into the clinic.
At that moment, I knew what I had to do. I sincerely said to him that I honestly had not seen his car when I arrived, as he had approached from around a corner. I wondered to myself if he had seen me drive up the second time as I had backed up to give the leaving care more room to navigate. Never mind. No longer relevant.
I immediately apologized for my behavior and for setting him up to be assaulted by well-meaning strangers. I even asked him to please forgive me, and that I was truly sorry. We each went our opposite ways.
As I went about my business at the clinic, I couldn’t get that young family out of my mind. I really wanted them to see that I was the one who probably did not see the situation correctly and definitely acted out of control.
I was at the appointment for a full hour. As I was exiting the building, I was aware of a man mentioning something about “that lady” to a woman, apparently his wife. I had a fleeting thought it might have been the same couple, but couldn’t believe they could actually still be there. I did not know what they looked like, only that they were young.
As I proceeded out the doors, the man—carrying a two-year-old boy—caught up with me asking if I was the lady in the parking spot situation. What?! Amazing they were still around.
I told him about the talk I had with the alleged parking spot thief and how I ended up apologizing. My avenging angel—who I then learned was Jeff—was adamant that they saw the whole thing and that I had definitely been there first.
I truly believe God gave me this opportunity to speak life into a situation that I had allowed to escalate. Regardless of who was there first, I had choice in my reaction. I could have accepted that for some reason the man truly believed he was first to the spot—he had stated that he had circled three times up to then—and I could have given him the benefit of the doubt.
Who should yield in such a case? “The one who is more spiritually mature.” Well, it wasn’t me in that moment, BUT it should have been.
I could have been grateful for all God has forgiven me, all the undeserved blessings I have. How could I “penny pinch” blessings and not allow one to this total stranger who definitely felt he was being wrongly accused.
As it happens, the Lord allowed for blessing out of my willingness to turn—teshuva—from my selfish ways. I gave Jeff my card, which stated I was a writer/publisher. He was excited to let me know that his wife is a writer looking for a way to publish. A sweet connection.
God is good. He knows we are not perfect, but in His amazing grace, He not only forgave me, but gave me an opportunity to set things right. He knows our frame, how we are tempted, how and when we are vulnerable to exhibiting our “old” unredeemed selves, and, in my case, my indignant self-righteous self.
I do pray the man I accosted got a taste of God’s love for Him. I know the Lord will not allow him to have a set back in his relationship with His creator out of this. Quite the contrary, out of what we—and even ha Satan—intends for evil, God will turn to good if we are willing to humble ourselves.