Monday, May 18, 2009

Plain Mean

We had an interesting interaction at our local farmer's market this weekend. It was packed--people were everywhere. In my own clan were three adults, seven children under age 5, and two strollers. You can imagine the sight--we were a big glob. Much of our time was spent corralling the children, giving continual instruction of what could and could not be touched.

We slowly migrated through the aisle and came to a stop in front of a plant vendor--one of many. He had a beautiful display of exotic plants in an antique wagon. My two year old loves wagons. So he went over and pulled down the handle ready to go for a walk. "No, sir," I said, "Put the handle back up. We can only touch that with one finger (my little catch phrase)." He reluctantly obeyed but did put the handle back and proceeded to touch the plants gently. His little friend joined him and together they were "admiring" the display.

The owner then abruptly came over with a white handkerchief and began slapping them on the hands while rudely barking orders, "No, no, DO - NOT - TOUCH - THIS!" I stood in complete shock. For a brief moment I thought he had to be kidding--they were not even hurting anything. Then I quickly realized that he was very serious--and so did the two boys. We all walked away, stunned and with slight emotional trauma. What just happened?

As the following moments progressed my mother's furry was aroused. "Did he really just hit my son with that cloth? Really? I need to go say something," I thought. Then my little guy, sitting quietly in the stroller--not his normal, lively self--said, "Mommy, tell that man not to do that anymore. He slapped us with a napkin." My heart sank. "He did not make a good choice," I assured.

So then I began thinking. God must "feel" that same fury when His own are mistreated by this world. Sometimes I think the temptation is to think that He is indifferent--maybe because His timing and ways are so far above our own. But the truth is that He sees our every tear and hears our every cry. Our "job" is to trust His heart and have faith in His judgment, rather than necessarily seeking our own retaliation. And then one step further is to forgive those who have treated us wrong--praying that God would have mercy upon them.

I must admit that my first inclination was to go over to that man and slap him with something myself. But then my heart softened. "He must be a pretty miserable person to slap cute little children. Lord, I pray that you would minister to his heart--soften him so that he may come to know the joy of life found in you." God is not indifferent. He does care when we are mistreated. But let us leave judgment to Him and obey His command to love and forgive others--even our enemies. This is right and good.

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1 comment:

The Moodies said...

Wow! Lara, my Mommy instincts would have kicked in and I fear for what would have come out of my mouth. Thanks for the reminder that God sees our hurts and cares for us. Also that God will handle the judgement. Our job is to love...

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