When I was a kid I had a bit of a temper. Nothing extreme, just occasional outbursts of anger that I usually resolved by kicking a cat or banging my head against a wall. What initiated those ourbursts? Typically they were a by-product of either not getting my own way (I want what I want when I want it!) or not feeling good about myself as a person.
The other week I momentarily lost my temper while traveling with my family. It was a very long drive and we pulled off the road to order some food. I was tired, mind you. Random Food Worker Voice began taking our order over the intercom. I gave the order once and then Food Worker Voice asked me to repeat myself. (Incompetent.) I repeated the order. Voice then asked me to repeat myself again. (Idiot Worker Voice.) I then repeated myself more loudly adding just a little bit of a sarcasm to prove my point to the voice. The person then kindly thanked me and disconnected. Immediately my conscience (in the physical form of my wife and daughters) convicted me. “You were kind of rude to her!” they said.
I wanted to make excuses, but my family was right — I lost my temper and I was rude. Why did I act that way? Isn’t it my job as a Christ-follower to brighten, not darken, people’s days? But I had treated Random Food Worker like she was a voice instead of a person. It’s easier sometimes to be rude via intercoms or social media than face-to-face. In my busy, tired, self-centered, and sinful disposition, I forget that whoever I encounter online, on the phone, and/or in person is not simply a voice but a person.
Like a ten-year-old child, I might lose my temper. I want what I want when I want it. I want to define “random acts of kindness” to mean I can pick and choose when to be kind and who to be kind to. Although I want to be random, God isn’t asking me for random acts of kindness, He’s asking me to embody grace and kindness. After all, a kind word or deed might be the best way I can show someone else that God still cares.
Calvin G. Roso © January 2014