I decided that I needed a little retail therapy so on the way to the mall, my oldest grand kiss and I ran a couple of errands. First stop was a fitness center. I was excited to discuss the special that was being advertised. As I approached the three ladies behind the front desk, the reception was very cold and unwelcoming. So much so, that I ended up leaving without acquiring the membership I’d hoped for.
We then proceeded to the mall, where I encountered not one, not two, but THREE incidences that were unfavorable. At that point, I decided to call it quits and go home…ONLY to hit back to back traffic at 3 p.m.! This never happens! While driving, I purposed in my mind to write letters to managers about these employees concerning what had transpired – and anyone who knows me knows that I can be very detailed! As I began to write the first letter, something took over my ink pen and the word “mercy” flashed in my mind. “Oh,” I said, “not today! They don’t deserve mercy, they don’t belong in customer service, their attitudes were unacceptable!” Then, an even stronger feeling came, and I was reminded of a scripture: Proverbs 24:16 says the righteous falls seven times and gets back up. So, my smart self said, “Yep, I’m righteous but they were sinners so that scripture doesn’t apply to them!” Then I was reminded of my attitude! In all these incidents I was pleasant (initially) but with one employee I asked if someone else could service me because he was apparently not having a good day! While they were all wrong, I also had many opportunities to make it right.
I have messed up so many times in my life, what if God punished me each time? Now, trust and believe that there have been many consequences for my actions, especially when I knew better, but there were even more times when God rendered mercy. I kind of felt bad that I didn’t even attempt to turn their bad day into a positive one. I’m the “righteous” one, so to whom much is given, much is required. Not everyone will be receptive to my kindness, but I could’ve at least tried! I felt overwhelmingly guilty!
Well, I ended up writing the letters. But instead of addressing them to corporate, I wrote these letters to the people who displayed bad customer service. I expressed that I was not pleased with their lack of respect to me as a customer but at the same time I apologized for not offering grace. I expressed how this letter was meant for their managers’ eyes and hopefully a discussion would take place, but then I proceeded to tell them that I am a Christian, and after my frustrations subsided I was convicted to address my concerns with them rather than their superiors. I offered a word of prayer for each of them and suggested the next time they are having a rough day they should ask for a short break to gather themselves or try their best not to take it out on the customer.
1 Peter 3:9 tells us not to pay back evil for evil, but to repay evil with blessing. It’s easy to give in to our natural reaction, and usually this is what other people expect us to do. So, how much more impactful would it be to react in an unexpected way?
God called us to be different. Don’t let others dictate how you respond. Instead, flip the script and surprise them by showing the same grace and mercy that God freely showers on you each day.