Why does it matter to me where Big Ugly Truck Guy (his real name) parks? I typically stop at Starbucks 3-4 days a week on my way to work and purchase a tall (not the real size) dark roast coffee. “No room for cream and may I have a ‘stopper,’ please?” The barista (coffee person) gives me a confused look — I’m trying to train the baristas to call the plug (Starbucks’ term) a stopper.
I’m usually in a pretty good mood when I pull into Starbucks. I always grab the coffee to go, and, I always go inside to order instead of using drive-through (I can’t stand using drive through ANYWHERE). Parking my car is a great adventure because Starbucks Corporation’s prime directive for each Starbucks is that the parking lot contains only three spaces for every 36 customers.
What trips my mood is when I pull into Starbuck’s mini-me parking lot and see Big Ugly Truck Guy has parked his BIG UGLY TRUCK IN A SPOT THAT ISN’T A PARKING SPOT. That’s not right, and it puts me in a mood every time. Other things bug me, too, like when people at the gym don’t put their weights back (as if the 75 signs that say “Rack your weights or lose your privileges” aren’t enough). Here’s another one: the grown adult who takes cuts in front of me when I’ve been standing in the line at Wal-Mart so long that I’ve forgotten the names of my children.
I find myself wishing that Big Ugly Truck Guy’s big ugly truck gets hit . . . or at least keyed. I think that it would be great if I’m Too Special to Put My Weights Away Person (real name) lost his or her privileges; it would also be cool if Mrs. Line-Cutter (real name again) got kicked to the back of the line. You see, I believe in justice for others big-time, but I’m not so keen on grace and mercy except when I need it. Or, more precisely, I think that only those people who deserve grace and mercy should get it. I love randomly tossing out judgment toward those I disagree with and I love hoarding mercy for myself and my BFFs.
Hosea 12:6 tells me to hold fast to justice and mercy. I’m all about holding fast to justice for those who have wronged others. But I find myself being pretty selective about when to distribute grace and mercy. I’m pretty generous with judging others who do things wrong but I’m miserly when it comes to offering grace and mercy to the same people. I’m glad that God is both just and merciful. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I don’t get what I deserve. God’s mercies never fail — they are new every morning.
One way I should apply Hosea 12:6 to my own life is to “walk justly and show mercy.” This means judging myself to see if I’m practicing Christ-like living in every area of my life instead of putting others under the microscope. And maybe I should buy Big Ugly Truck Guy a cup of coffee the next time I’m at Starbucks.
Calvin G. Roso © December 2013