“Sir, just so you know, I moved your bag to this bin. You had placed it in the flight attendant’s storage area.”
“Uh, okay.” I respond back in my half asleep grogginess. Then it dawns on me… wait a minute, another flight attendant watched me put my bag in there and even helped me push it in when it was getting hung up on the hinges! It’s a bin like all the other bins, it’s not labeled ‘flight attendant’ bin, and it’s directly over my seat. What gives this lady the right to touch my stuff and move it down the plane and take my spot? That should be my bin fair and square. She’s just making stuff up to take my prime real estate! My mind flashes back to the statement she made and suddenly it seems condescending and patronizing. I feel slighted. I feel like she’s abusing her position for her benefit against a paying customer’s.
I plot my revenge.
My mischievous mind goes to work immediately conjuring a plethora of direct and passive responses to strike back. This lady picked the wrong dude to trifle with! Should I go the circuitous route and ask the first flight attendant that helped me out my bag in the bin why she didn’t tell me it was this other lady’s special bin and rope the kind flight attendant into it to make my point for me? Or, should I go the more direct showdown route and interrogate her on the airline’s flight attendant bin policy? I so enjoy a good showdown. In fact, I am great at the showdown. (Maybe I should have been a trial lawyer?) Should I wait until the middle of the flight when the mean flight attendant is preoccupied down the fuselage and quietly swap our bags’ positions back to where they were? That would be funny. I like funny. Or heck, there’s dozens of ways I could just subtly annoy her as a passenger. The possibilities are endless!
The above all happened in about a 1 minute timespan. Another kind, smiling flight attendant swung by and offered to take the banana peeI I was holding, and I snapped out of it thankfully. (Even though that banana peel had roles in a few of my sneakier revenge ideas!)
This carnal instinct I have to defend myself, push back, hit back, punish, when I’m “right” or feel “wronged” is my Achilles heel in life. You would not believe how much trouble it’s got me into! It’s cost me big time relationally and financially. Many of my treasured friends and relationships including my sweet wife have absorbed blows they shouldn’t have had to endure… And unfortunately I fear I lost some people from my life I won’t get back from times I didn’t catch myself and failed to snap out of it before I dealt my ‘righteous justice’. But thanks to my loving, patient, merciful, and longsuffering God hitting me upside the head with Holy Spirit 2x4s enough times, I’m slowly reaching a level of awareness of my problem that’s allowing me to deal with it. His Grace is giving me the strength to catch myself, take my thoughts captive more often and exhibit grace and mercy to others more often.
God cares a lot more about the precious hearts of His children than He does the validation of my correctness. Being right and being righteous are not the same thing. God doesn’t want me to go around being right all the time, He wants me to live a life of righteousness; the kind of righteousness Jesus walked with. Jesus is the Lion and the Lamb. He’s not afraid of conflict, but chooses his battles even when it means sometimes losing, sometimes being shamed, sometimes being mocked. So many times He held back His power out of love for those around Him, despite having all power and authority to ‘put them in their place’ any time He chose.
Jesus said, “I only do what I see my Father doing.” And when I take the time to listen to Father I hear what Jesus probably heard in a patient and loving voice, “Choose your battles, son.”
God made me a lion, and I have a hard time relating to lambs. But he made me a lion for a reason. He made me a lion so that I can be strong and courageous and win the battles I have assigned to me on this Earth. He didn’t make me lion so I could go around roaring with pride and mauling everyone that crosses me. I want to let the Holy Spirit put this lion on a leash to the will of my Father, and learn to walk obediently in step with him, purring like a gentle kitty-cat until He says, “NOW”.
Thanks be to God. He’s not done with me yet! I will get this right with His help.