By Becky Hunter
I walked out of the grocery store, and serpentined through the congested parking lot to my car. I popped open the trunk, unloaded my cart, and slipped into the driver’s seat. That’s when I noticed that the windshield wiper was playing paper clip to a handwritten note:
Please learn to park in one space! Thank you!
Now, before I go on, it’s important to tell you that I actually like rules. When I’m reading my Bible, I occasionally feel sympathy for some Pharisee. But despite my referee worldview, that white stripe on the black pavement, meant to separate two parking spots, was a troublesome median beneath my car.
So how did I end up parking there?
Thanks for asking.
I had circled the parking lot three times before I finally spotted room for my little Hyundai between an oversize truck and a picturesque Mercedes that was owning as much personal space as possible to, I assume, avoid a scratch or dent. When I realized my car would fit, and still leave some spare room for the Mercedes, I pulled in. It seemed logical at the time.
When I came out of the store twenty minutes later, the Mercedes and the truck were gone and obviously I was an illogical parking menace. No wonder I was treated to cursive instruction by someone with a referee worldview, likely similar to my own.
The whole scenario reminded me of some important biblical principles to keep in mind when it comes to dealing with people. And, because those of us who are pastors’ wives do get to interact with so many people, I offer you here, some positive takeaways from my embarrassing moment:
When anyone makes a bad choice it has consequences for all of us. When other people break the rules we have to be especially diligent about continuing to reference the rules and not another’s actions as our basis for decision.
As a matter of fact, do everything that way, heartily and freely to God’s glory. At the same time, don’t be callous in your exercise of freedom, thoughtlessly stepping on the toes of those who aren’t as free as you are. I try my best to be considerate of everyone’s feelings in all these matters; I hope you will be, too. –1 Corinthians 10:31-33 (The Message)
If we choose to cross the line in any arena of life our decision could inadvertently influence someone else to cross the line as well.
Only be careful that this power of choice (this permission and liberty to do as you please) which is yours, does not (somehow) become a hindrance (cause of stumbling) to the weak or over scrupulous (giving them an impulse to sin). –1 Corinthians 8:9 (Amplified)
When we are tempted to lecture people we do not know, about their current circumstance, we must remind ourselves that many of the reasons they are in that place may be hidden from our sight. Keeping that mystery in mind will help us respond to them in a truly Christ-like way.
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. –Galatians 5:13-14
I’ll be praying for you this weekend as I do every weekend and hope you are praying for pastors’ wives everywhere. God bless you much as you choose to be a good witness in all you do.