I’m in cycle where I seem to be annoying other people just by showing up. I haven’t intentionally tried to provoke anyone, but it somehow I have managed to stir up humanity without much effort.
I pulled my car into a space on the street clearly white-line marked as legal parking space. A little later I was confronted about my choice of parking spaces and was asked to move my car anywhere other than the lawful space it was in.
I made a phone call to follow up on a matter that hadn’t been crossed off my to-do list yet. I simply wanted to check the status of the unfinished task, but the receiver took the call as criticism for tardiness, which it wasn’t.
I overheard grumbling coming from another room. She was talking out loud to herself and it was obvious that she was not happy with the way I had done something. I had moved some things around because of a safety issue, but apparently the rearrangement caused her some inconvenience.
I got in my car and headed out to get a sandwich for lunch. Apparently the dude in the truck behind me thought my careful and cautious driving, including using a turn signal, was offensive enough to warrant him screaming obscenities at me as I turned off the roadway.
At the end of the day, the gravity of all that unintended offense weighs me down. I try to do the right thing. On days when it seems like the assaults come back to back, what I really want to do is scream back at someone who screams at me. It would be so easy to spew a bunch of words to justify myself or my actions. If someone expressed an opinion about my shortcomings it probably wouldn’t take me long to react and return the favor. It’s hard to stand up when there’s so much gravity pulling you down. It’s a lot easier to sink to that level than to rise above it.
Many world religions, including Christianity, embrace the spiritual principle of reaping what you sow. Eastern religions call it karma. Even people who aren’t religious believe it. The essence of it is that your current actions affect your future. It’s an ageless, universal concept with scores of human examples proving its validity. It’s a simple idea. If we want a good future, we do good things now. Simple, yes, but not easy. Sometimes it’s really hard to do good.
In Galatians 6 of the New Testament Paul states it plainly, “For whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Two verses later he continues, “Let us not grow weary of doing good.” I’m with you, Paul, but exactly how do we not grow weary?
I found the answer in the Old Testament. Isaiah said:
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
I don’t want to be the person that screams at people or incites their anger. I would rather be the person that brings good news. That’s hard to do sometimes. It took an Old Testament prophet to remind me that I cannot do God’s work without God’s help. It is God’s strength that keeps me from growing weary and enables me to take a stand in the world we’re living in. That’s exactly the encouragement I need to start sowing like my future depends on it.
This was originally published June 19, 2015 on www.walterborolive.com