Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

Archive for the tag “rude”

WHY LOVING THE UNLOVABLE STINKS

He’s rude. He’s inappropriate. He’s foul-mouthed. He thinks he’s funny and cute. He makes snide remarks to people and doesn’t care about the outcome. He speaks his mind with total disregard for whomever he wipes out in the wake of his words. He makes more enemies than friends and couldn’t care less.

He’s the topic of frequent conversations and complaints among other residents at the senior living community where I work.

Sometimes he can be charming. Occasionally he can be sweet. But my experience is more the former than the latter.

As I walked up to the table where he was seated recently, I heard him tell his table mates, “This lady here is a real b*tch.” I don’t know if he was kidding or serious. It didn’t matter really.

This summer I personally registered him to vote and hand delivered his form to the Clay County Board of Elections in Liberty, Missouri. I’ve answered questions that he’s inquired about. I always say hello, am always friendly and reach out to him. But quite frankly it’s not easy. To be honest, I’d rather toss him out with the rest of the trash at the end of the day.

Every month, I run our Resident Council meeting. Yesterday he came. Shocker! He doesn’t attend anything…ever. Before the meeting, I make coffee for the residents and serve each one of them. It was all I could do to serve this man—who is rude, difficult, and unkind—without wanting to “accidentally” spill the coffee on him. But serve him I did. I’m pretty sure he muttered a “thank you” somewhere in there. And I thought for a hot second, “maybe this is progress.” I thought wrong. Later in the meeting he got ticked off at me and stormed out. I shook my head and moved on with the meeting.

Loving the unlovable is a real struggle. It’s frustrating. Loving the unlovable is work, there’s no reward, and it’s not any fun—three things which we spoiled, self-centered Americans aren’t particularly fond of.

I was kinda frustrated at the end of the day as I reflected back. My conversation with Jesus at that point went something like this:

“I’m done. I’m not wasting my time with that guy anymore.”

“Love him anyway.”

“But it’s pure work.”

“Indeed it is. But love him anyway.”

“But I never see any progress in my love for him.”

“Doesn’t matter. Love him anyway.”

“But I served that guy coffee today, adding cream and sugar just the way he likes it, and this is the thanks I get in return?”

“Yes! And by the way…it’s not about you!”

“This straight up stinks!”

“Maybe to you. But your loving the unlovable is a sweet fragrance to Me.”

Deep breath. Reboot. Got it.

You see…whether we know it or not…whether we feel it or not…whether we see progress or not…the sweet fragrance of the likeness of Christ can be an irresistible pull toward the Savior.

OVERCOMING OUR UNSUPPORTED PERSONALITY

Recently at work, I went to print a word document from my computer. When the paper came out of the printer, all it had on it in the upper left-hand corner in small print was this, “Unsupported Personality:  PCL.”

I thought to myself, “Wait…what?” So I tried to print again. Same thing happened. That obviously was not the document I was trying to print. The printer was working fine prior to this. So I turned off the printer, let it take a break, rebooted my computer and tried again. Guess what? Same message, “Unsupported Personality:  PCL.”

Now, I’m not very techie at all. I have absolutely no idea what that error message means. So, after being quite frustrated, I quit trying to print, stacked my three unwanted documents on my desk and went about my business.

Every time I passed by my desk I saw the words on the documents, “Unsupported Personality.” Three pages with the same words on it. Again, I’m not very techie, but somehow in the communication from my computer to my printer, something went awry. The printer didn’t like the communication it received from my computer. Or perhaps my printer just couldn’t handle it. So it spit out an error message, “Unsupported Personality.”

I moved past frustrated and became intrigued. You know, there have been several times in my life when I didn’t appreciate the communication I was receiving from someone. There are times when I just can’t handle it. There are times when people say hurtful things, treat me poorly, tear me down, ridicule me, fail to respect me, etc. Ugly, but true.

So maybe I’ll keep those documents with the words “Unsupported Personality.” I’ll have them readily available for the next time someone is unkind or disrespectful or rude to me. And I’ll grab one and give it to them. For me, the message simply states that I won’t support that personality trait that they’re sending me.

What do you think? Is that acceptable?

Unsupported PersonalityBut here’s the thing…they could keep those documents with the words “Unsupported Personality” and freely give them back to me when I treated them with the same disrespect or rudeness, when I said unkind or hurtful things to them. Ouch!

Truth is we all have certain parts of our nature, our personality, our character that are less-than-desirable. We all get grouchy, short with others, say unkind things, etc. Ugly, but true.

I don’t want anyone to hand me a document that says, “Unsupported Personality.” I don’t like the realization that I’ve treated someone else poorly, that I’ve torn them down rather than built them up, that I’ve been rude or callous unfriendly. I don’t like it, but it’s true of me.

Okay, so maybe I won’t keep those documents and hand them out to people who tick me off. Here’s what I’ll try to do instead:

“Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.

Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what He’s asked…”  (1 Peter 3:8-12a, MSG).

 

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