Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
- Psalm 22:7
Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long.
- Jeremiah 20:8
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
- 1 Peter 3:9
I went to a memorial service recently for my wife’s brother who passed away in mid-August. The trip from Tennessee to Texas and back was marked by three instances to which I could have taken offense.
We stayed in the home that my wife’s parents bought and where four family members were living when they died, sort of (sort of, meaning the last of the four had moved to a nursing home). As we dressed for the service, my wife’s sisters came by. One dropped off Christmas gifts so that she could avoid shipping charges. That was not offensive, but our seven-passenger SUV was packed to the “gills” and the seven of us went home with a few things on our laps (all except the driver and we switched up in that regard.
But then one sister came by with her grandchild. He came up to me and grabbed my shirt. He asked, “Where did you get this?” I said I got the shirt in a department store. He replied, “No, I was talking about your big fat belly.” And he turned in ran away. At the service, he sat next to my grandson, who sat next to me. Our grandson is three weeks older than this boy. The insulting child was disruptive throughout the service while our grandson kept trying to get closer to me and away from trouble. I shall pray for my sister-in-law. She has much more than a handful to take care of a child from a broken marriage.
After the service and the meal that the altar society ladies provided, we all went to a house in a vacation resort area near Houston, Texas. I changed shoes and took off my tie. At one point, a couple of my brothers-in-law asked, “Why are you still dressed up? Are you trying to make us look bad?” I said that I did not have time to change, but the truth of the matter was that with so little room for luggage, we brought the bare essentials. Everyone else either lived nearby or they flew into Houston. Besides, I would never admit that we could not afford the wardrobe changes. But these people were either retired comfortably or nearly so. I was laid off when I could not afford to be.
Then on the way home, we stopped at a fast food restaurant. My son and his family insisted, since they had not been to that franchise in about five years. My wife asked the guy at the counter if they had steak fingers. They had removed it from the menu years ago, but they still had it, only in a meal. After we all ate, my wife asked me to throw out our trash. The trash included most of my wife’s fries. She should not eat them, but she ate a few, just to savor the taste. There was also two strips of toast, maybe half a slice of bread, cut in strips. A white-haired man approached me. He asked me, “Are you going to throw away good food? You should be ashamed of yourself. If I had not ordered and paid already, I could have made a meal with what you are throwing away.” I stepped to the side and limped around him. My hands were full and I had no hand to hold my cane.
Should I have told him that my wife has end stage kidney failure and she cannot eat much. She has thyroid issues and should not eat much. She has just about every organ in her body failing at one rate or another, and I will NOT deny her a treat, even if I must throw some of it away? I said nothing instead.
When I told the last story to my daughter-in-law, I said that you could tell your children that. But if you told your grandchildren that, your son or daughter might tell you to mind your own business, but this was a total stranger, and I am glad that he was so.
Love does not dishonor others. We should not trade insult with insult. And when we always get bad news, we might get insulted and abused, but that was not the case in any of these situations.
These days people take offense over the slightest things, but these three attacks were bizarre, although the middle one might have been a mere question without thinking about the reaction.
As I write these “A Thought on” topics, I just try to introduce the topic, so people can think. I take no offense in what these people said, but I could have done so. Taking offense is not what God would wish for me to do.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.