What if we loved like Jesus

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At some point several months into Covid, my husband and I started intentionally spending our Saturdays together.  I give him all the credit for this idea which has become a highlight of our week that we both look forward to leading up to it.  Walks by the water, driving down country roads, picnics, workouts, and the occasional new bakery find for a weekend treat...just being together instead of doing our separate ‘thing’, as we’d done for years, has proven to be such a bonus to our marriage. 

 This past Saturday was no exception to our new ‘rule’.  Our bakery stop produced one award-winning baguette for dinner and one apple spice oatmeal cookie which we shared in a McDonald’s parking lot after we got ourselves a coffee.  Hey, don’t judge.  In my opinion, Mickey D’s coffee is far superior to frou frou java from the fancy places! 

The gentleman who served us at the counter repeated our order back to my husband twice to make sure he had our coffee additions right.  At the end of the transaction, my husband thanked the employee, by name, and the look on our server’s face was one of sheer surprise.  My husband went to the restroom and I saw that the man was being trained by a manager, so he was obviously new to the job. 

As we headed back to the car, I was fighting back tears.  The man who served us was not a young man and it was clear that his first language was not English or French.  My heart was so stirred as I thought about what his story might be.  Had he recently come to Canada?  Had he lost his job due to Covid?  Had something happened that had forced him to start over?  Maybe none of these were the case and he simply wanted to work at McDonald’s.  Regardless, the emotions that moved me to tears were with respect to how people deserve to be treated versus how they are often mistreated.

 If you want to get my back up, please treat someone disrespectfully.  Don’t say thank you.  Don’t look them in the eye.  Show how annoyed you are if they (God forbid!) make an error.  If someone serves me, how I treat them has nothing to do with how well they serve me; it has everything to do with how well I choose to serve Christ.  Do I know what their current circumstances are that may cause them to be unpleasant?  Am I so entitled that it’s okay for me to talk down to someone? 

 1 Cor. 13:6 is the famous passage of Scripture that makes it plain what love is, and what it is not.  Commonly used in wedding ceremonies, these words were never meant to be limited just to married love.

 As Bishop taught this past Sunday, love is not optional.

 Love is kind.  There are no loopholes that allow me to treat others poorly.

This worldwide pandemic has created stressors we’ve never faced before.  Tensions are running high and people are more on edge than.  Relationships are strained, finances are tight, and access to leisure and recreation outlets has changed dramatically.  I’m dealing with one or more of these new normals at any given point in a day.  If it’s true for me, Lord, help me to remember it’s true for others. 

 No sooner had my husband and I resumed our conversation, once my tears had subsided, than a man and a woman, well into their seventies, approached the car parked beside us.  They were arguing loudly and the man was becoming physically agitated, lunging to slap the woman’s hand away when she tried to get in her car.   She sidestepped him and walked in front of our vehicle, in order to move away from him.  Her gaze was empty and her lip was trembling as she waited for him to walk across the parking lot to his own vehicle.  It was the look of someone who was accustomed to being treated that way.  Maybe she had been subject to his abuse for years.  Maybe they weren’t even a couple.  I’ll never know.

 In the span of five minutes, the contrast between the look on our server’s face when he was shown gratitude and respect, compared to the look on the lady’s face at being bullied and the target of another’s anger, was so profound to me.

 Love.  Kindness.  Respect.  Every exchange is a chance, and a choice, for us to go ahead, and make someone’s day!  Be empowered by the Father’s love this week to love those who serve you!

 Jennifer Wilson.

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