Friday, May 13, 2016

"Have a ... ROTTEN DAY"?????


A couple of weeks ago in a women's group at my church, we were reading the book of 1 John. We were talking about love -- a concept mentioned dozens of times in that book, and one that we all admitted we have trouble getting a handle on sometimes. 

One of the women shared the following experience: she was recently in the grocery store checkout line with a full cart of items. She saw that the woman behind her had only one or two things, so she kindly asked, "Would you like to go ahead of me?"

The other woman refused, but not in an "Oh, thank you, but I'm not in a hurry" way; she refused rudely. She then proceeded to make disparaging comments about the items our friend was buying -- criticizing the excessive salt content, and so on.

Our friend just shrugged and completed her purchase. Then, when leaving, she said to the other woman, "Have a nice day."

The woman replied, "Well, you have a rotten day, Miss Nosy."


It was such a bizarre response, all we could do was laugh and shake our heads. Everyone knows a simple act of kindness can be all it takes to make someone feel that this world is a good place to be. I've been on the receiving end of kind words or actions like that from a stranger, and even the smallest thing can make a difference in my outlook. Such acts and words benefit the giver, too. It seems like a win-win.

But for this woman in the grocery store, an act of kindness was an insult and an affront.

What makes people reject kindness and love? This is not a rhetorical question: I'd love to hear what you think. Please comment.






8 comments:

  1. That sounds like exactly the sort of thing that my ex-husband used to say. Everything and anything that was good, he had to turn bad and be rude (and it would have been far worse than 'Miss Nosy'). Some people choose to be miserable and to make everyone around them miserable, too. I don't know why, other than an innate sense of being eternally hard-done by and a feeling of being the centre of their own miserable universe. I think your friend did well to laugh it off :-)

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Sandy. It does seem to stem from a whole mindset, not just "having a bad day" or whatever. I feel sorry for someone who can't or won't let that bit of kindness and consideration in. It's like having dirty windows and someone offers to clean them and we say "No, I like it all cloudy and grimy."

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  2. Okay, this is probably a wild, far-fetched and improbable reason for that woman's behavior, but . . . She could've been an actor training herself for the part of a woman who would act like that. (I think it's called method acting, where the actor immerses him/herself into the character and prepares by acting that way in real life situations.) Or, she could've been a performance artist. Either way--and I'll admit, both are improbable causes--that type of behavior is rude.

    The more likely cause, in my mind, is that the person is harboring deep hurt, such as being abused, and can't process it any other way than by treating others the way that she is being treated. If this woman was being verbally abused then or in the past, this may be how she lashes out at the world.

    Your friend showed tremendous grace. You never know, someday, that woman may remember her response and wonder why she was so kind. We never know where someone else is in their spiritual journey.

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    1. Those are great thoughts, Laura. It would be neat if it WERE someone playing a role, but as you say, probably not. Probably something deep and hard from life experience, which is very sad. I agree that the woman from my church group handled it very well. She is a calm, easygoing person. I don't think I would have been nearly as nice!

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  3. Hi Jeannie, I agree with Laura - she was probably harboring deep hurt. There are people who feel so crummy about their own lives, the only way they can feel better is by making someone else feel bad too. But I heard a talk once about this phenomenon that I found very helpful. The speaker said that sometimes God allows one of his people to be hurt by someone so that they can pray for that person, who may be totally closed to receiving God's grace personally. By praying, by taking that hurt to God and allowing him to pour out His grace, that grace can flow to the wounded and the wounder, even if we never see that person again. I can't tell any stories of how I've seen this work, but every time I think about the young man who stole our car 25 years ago, I pray for him. And who knows - I may see him in heaven one day!
    Bless you for being an instrument of God's grace in my life! Maureen

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    1. Thanks Maureen, I appreciate your insights. First I should clarify that I didn't write this post as a "Can you believe some people???" type of thing; it was just something that (after my initial WHAAAT?) really got me thinking about what might be behind the person's response.

      Your thoughts about praying for the one who wounds us are really helpful. Being a conduit for God's grace like that ... it's a privilege to be part of His work. Yet I confess that it is NOT my first impulse, or my second or sometimes even my hundredth, to do that.

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  4. There are people to whom kindness is an affront, and some of them are so affronted that they respond accordingly. You have affronted them with your kindness so they will lash out at you in the bitterest ways at their disposal. That woman might actually have been restrained due to being in a public place, and might have been even more awful had she been somewhere not in the public eye.

    It's scary how badly people respond to kindness. And since all true kindness is ultimately from God, they are ultimately acting badly to him.

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    1. That last point is so interesting, Tim.

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