Written by Amber Lawton
The morning of my niece and nephew’s winter performance at school I found myself circling the neighborhood for parking. After a lengthy trip in one direction I turned around and headed back towards a relative’s car five blocks past the school. I reached a long stretch of street parking that had a set of trash cans positioned in the middle of it. All of the cans were empty so I lined my car up to the part I could park in, but needed a few inches more. I didn’t think anything of adjusting one of the cans towards the others since it was haphazardly positioned in the road. This wasn’t the only house with cans out so it seemed as if maybe the garbage man had dropped it and went about his business. Apparently, I was wrong.
As I was heading back to my car the owner of the home came bouldering out of the front door. With a look of rage he yelled “you can’t park here, I got someone coming.” The space was large enough for two SUV’s and a midsize car. I drive a Honda Civic. You can imagine the baffled look on my face. I responded that I was going to the school performance which would be very short, and the stretch he was protecting is public parking. There are no signs stating parking is not allowed. After a few choice words on his part he positioned himself directly in front of my car and said I would have to run him over if I wanted the space. I was already in my car trying to figure out how to get away from him because the argument wasn’t worth it. I was there to see the kids. He continued on with such a fury that his words began to anger me. He did not own the street. However, instead of rationalizing in my mind how justified I would be to react, I decided to bless him.
You see friends, as a part of my mind renewal process a few years back I decided that no matter what, I would be mindful in what I say about or towards another. Coming from a place of negative thinking and victim mentality this way of responding has helped in the way I see people and my circumstances. Do I get it right every time? No, but I do my best to control my tongue. Words aren’t always necessary, but in some instances they are a knee jerk reaction.
Sitting in my Civic, facing a man provoking me to hit him with my car, I felt the words escape my mouth: “I hope you have a very blessed Christmas. That regardless of how you have acted towards others, this holiday season I hope you experience the love of God and He tremendously bless you.” His face was astounded. He got quiet. As I backed up I confirmed it with “That’s right, God bless you.” Then, as if I cursed him, he began yelling again as I pulled away. Heading back toward the school, unsure of where I was going, a parking space had opened in a much closer spot.
The occurrence of that morning reminded me of Luke 6:28 (AMP) “bless and show kindness to those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” How difficult this instruction is when an opportunity of seemingly justifiable revenge presents itself. How easy it becomes to forget that we are to show kindness to those who curse us. We want to clear our name, when the Lord says vengeance is His. What would have happened had I continued to argue with the man? I could have fallen into the trap of anger and told him off. Or worse, I could have actually hit him with my car! Had I done those things I would have put myself in a worse position, and missed the favorable parking space ahead.
There are times when people position themselves against us for whatever reason they choose. Sometimes they have claimed ownership to some position, person, or thing illegally. Our job isn’t to fight with them or remove them from the place they have unrightfully claimed as their territory. We are to bless them. We are to pray for them. We should trust that our Heavenly Father will do a work within them to open their eyes and change their hearts. We must also trust that what He has for us is for us. No matter the improper positioning of another, as long as our heart is pure before Him, He will reward our faithfulness to Him with great favor. “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”
Proverbs 3:3–4 NIV