Oh man, there was big drama going on at the post office this morning. I was waiting in the usual Monday morning line when the twenty-something guy in front of me carries a very large (around six feet tall by four feet wide), flat, heavy box up to the window. Apparently his wife has bought this queen-sized bed online and it arrived missing the rails. He is upset with his wife for buying it in the first place and it has now sat in his living room for a week, and he isn’t going to blankety-blank put up with it any blankety-blank longer.
Since he doesn’t have a return label he’s planning to personally pay the postage, until he learns that it’s over $100, at which point he stops the postmistress and calls his wife.
By now, all of us in line have become emotionally involved in him getting his bed mailed back and everyone is expressing their opinion. The man behind me feels sorry for any postman who has to deliver that package and I respond that it’d be cheaper to just personally DRIVE it back to the company, while another asks who’d order a bed off the internet anyway.
Now the helpful postmistress has suggested he try UPS or calling the company and having them send a return label, but the wife says MAIL IT, so being a loving husband (who doesn’t want to take the flack), he does. His language is very colorful but he’s pleasant and funny and he knows that we’re all enjoying the show. His frustration isn’t directed at the postmistress but at the situation (and his wife, who ordered the #$%&@ bed).
In the midst of the bed saga one tiny woman towards the back of the line announces loudly that she’s 94 years old and SHE was raised with some couth. She is mortally offended over the man’s language and is loudly competing with the drama going on at the window. Okay, now the post office is really rockin’! She expresses her offense in huffy remarks to everyone in line (and several others piously agree with her), and as the guy walks out she rudely hollers out to him, “You’d better clean up your language boy!” To which he calmly replies, “I’m blankety-blank over 21 and I can say whatever the blankety-blank I want to say!”
Now she’s livid and is telling anybody who will listen (which is all of us, since we can’t escape) how offended she is. Someone agrees, saying how if they’d used that kind of language their parents would have taken the strap to them. Another in line huffingly apologizes to the woman that she was treated so rudely, but personally I thought that she was the rude one, the guy had been pleasant and humorous in his interactions at the window. In her self-righteousness she took a funny situation that didn’t have anything wrong with it and turned it into something rude and uncomfortable.
Sure, we didn’t need to hear the language, but are our sensibilities so tender that we can’t accept a person for who they are? Why is it that we expect non-Christians to act like Christians? If we can’t take a little “flesh” in the world how are we going to impact others with Jesus’ love? I guarantee you that if Jesus had been standing in that line he’d not have been rude or offended, he’d have been right there sympathizing with the man, not judging who he is by what words he chooses to use to express himself. The man wasn’t “taking the Lord’s name in vain,” he was just cussing. Now, the rest of the day, this guy will have a bad taste in his mouth over being treated that way in public, which will make him all the madder at his wife for her purchase.
Let’s try to remember that we’re not here to be offended by who people are, we’re here to show them that Jesus accepts them at whatever place they’re currently in. I can guarantee you that that 94-year-old woman considers herself a Christian (not saying that she isn’t), but the testimony she left behind shows me that whatever she’s got I don’t want.
We’re responsible for ourselves, not for forcing other people to change or for getting offended when they don’t, that’s between them and God.
All in all, it was quite the exciting Monday morning at the post office!