Choosing kindness over hate

Weekly Blog – December 3, 2019

Choosing kindness over hate

It was just another Thanksgiving morning for a police officer in Kiefer, Oklahoma. The officer decided to do something generous for the emergency dispatchers who had to work the holiday shift with him last week. So he drove to the local Starbucks and ordered them all drinks.

Unfortunately, when the office got his order, the word “PIG” was written on the side of one of the cups. The officer’s chief contacted the Starbucks to complain, only to be told that the store would happily replace the beverage with the correct label. Not exactly the type of apology he was looking for.

The derogatory remark made the officer question himself, “Why am I doing this?” When he would have instead been home with his family for the holiday, he was patrolling his town and was disrespected for what he was doing.

Later after seeing the incident posted on Facebook, a Starbucks representative called the incident “totally unacceptable, and is not representative of the deep appreciation we have of officers who work to keep our communities safe.”

The employee who wrote the derogatory term on the cup was terminated. On Friday, in a joint statement, the Kiefer Police Department and Starbucks said, “they were committed to using this regrettable incident as an opportunity to leverage our shared platforms to promote greater civility.” (Paraphrased from an article from the Washington Post.)

This story is not a story of forgiveness, (Although Starbucks did apologize to the officer) as much as it is a story of a government entity and a global corporation striving to work together to make our world a slightly better place by promoting respect and civility.

We may never know how the employee felt (she too apologized) after the culmination of her actions, that she said was meant as a joke at the time she did it. She is forgiven by God, yet she paid the price for her actions didn’t she?

I’d like to share a devotion I wrote a couple of years ago, based on of all things, an incident at a Starbucks. This time it was all on me. I was the offender, I acted unacceptably, and I sinned against another, and paid the price in another way.

It was just like any other morning. Get up, take a shower, but no coffee. You see, I needed to get lab work done and I was required to fast for the blood draw.
When I arrived at the lab, over fifty people were waiting to have different tests done. I checked in, but I left five minutes later as I knew I had a lot to do that day and didn’t want to wait an hour or so for my lab work.

I headed over to the local Starbucks for coffee and to work on a bible study I was writing for our upcoming Middle school youth gathering. Unfortunately, I allowed my impatience and not getting my blood drawn to put me into a foul mood.
I arrived at Starbucks, put my backpack with my computer, and different materials on an open table before I went up to the counter to place my order. I asked for a cup of coffee, half regular and half decaf (as I always do). And the barista at the counter answers rooted my lousy mood even deeper. “So sorry, we don’t have any decaf right now; it’ll be ready in about ten minutes.”

Bam! I grumbled and got very stern with her, and must have had a look of disdain on my face when I said, “Fine, just give me a regular.” So she gave me my cup of regular coffee and told me to have a nice day, to which I replied with attitude, “Thanks.”
So I sat down at my table, drank a few sips of my coffee, pulled out my computer and a few books, including the Bible, I was using for reference. For the next ten minutes, I couldn’t get past the bible verse for the bible study I was writing. Psalm 46:1-2, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.”
I definitely needed help in trouble, I couldn’t get anything going on the Bible study I was trying to write. Then it dawned on me, and I got that feeling in my gut that something was wrong. I had been disrespectful and anything but a loving Christian to the barista who, through no fault of her own, told me that decaf coffee was not available; that was why I was stuck. The Holy Spirit was talking to me because I had veered off the path of righteousness. I needed to apologize to this young lady for my behavior.
It only took me a minute to walk up to the counter and tell her that I wanted to apologize for the way I spoke to her and my attitude towards her. Her reply was, “Oh that’s okay people get like that all the time when we don’t have what they want, and I’m kind of used to it.” My answer to her was, “I can see where that might happen, but it doesn’t make it right, please accept my apology.” She said thank you, and I went back to my seat, and in about forty-five minutes I was done writing the bible study.

I had been anything but kind and tenderhearted to the Barista that day. Fortunately, she was forgiving. It wasn’t easy to apologize and ask for forgiveness to that young lady that day, yet we ask God for forgiveness for our sins every day for things we do wrong in thought, word, and deed. Shouldn’t we give the same consideration we give to God, to the people we meet, greet and know in life?
God forgives us because of what His Son did for us on the cross, make sure you take the time to forgive and ask for forgiveness. It’s what God instructed us to do.

The police officer from Oklahoma deserved to be treated with love and respect, as did the barista from my story. Never forget Paul’s words from Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Dear Lord: Please help us to forgive others when we should, just as you forgive us for our transgressions and ask for forgiveness just like we do of you each day. Help us to share the Fruits of the Spirit with everyone. Amen

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