Sometimes people are hard to deal with.
Six or seven years ago we had an outdoor concert in the grass field behind our church. Featuring our praise band playing on a flatbed trailer, it was something we had not done in recent years, and we were excited about it.
A few days before the concert, I was out one afternoon distributing door hangers in neighborhoods near the church. One of those neighborhoods is sandwiched between rental communities. Interestingly, the homes in the neighborhood look very similar to the homes in the rental community, and it can be hard to tell where one starts and the other stops. This is a key distinction because while it is legal to put up door hangers in the neighborhood, the rental community has a no solicitation rule.
From the direction I was walking, I did not see the rental community sign that mentioned this rule. I got about 20-30 door hangers out illegally before a man came rushing out of his house yelling at me from across the parking lot: “You’re not allowed to do that! Didn’t you see the sign? No solicitation here!”
You know how your body can heat up very fast when someone confronts you harshly? Yeah…
Why did he have to be so mean? He wasn’t wrong about holding me to the law. He correctly interpreted and applied the law. He was also right about bringing it to my attention. But did that give him the right to be unkind and mean?
I wonder what was going on in his life, in his history, that led him to react that way?
Have you ever been mean like that? I have. Way too often. My guess is that many of you know what I’m talking about. You’ve lost it. Or people have been very unkind to you. The stories abound.
We can unload on Facebook. We can go off on persistent telemarketers or customer service reps from another country who have accents that are difficult to understand. We scream at the TV. We yell at family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers.
As we prepare to study the next few characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit, gentleness, kindness, and goodness, I wonder if you might think through why we can be so unkind, so mean, so hurtful? And if you’d like, let’s discuss it a bit here before the sermon tomorrow. I’ll also share how my story with the angry man ended!