Today, after work, I went to the cheapest gas station in the area, *Petro USA to fill up. The station is right on the edge of Reading and often times attracts some rough looking customers. Today, as I walked in to prepay, there was a man in blue sweatpants standing inside directly in front of one of the doors. He was bent down, obviously paging through a New York Times. As I opened the door, the man made no attempt to get out of my way, so I had to squeeze around him as he was blocking most of the entrance. The man did not seem to notice that he was in my way or even seem to care.
On my way out, I just brushed by him without an “excuse me” or “sorry” like I would usually say because I felt the man was being kind of rude. On my drive home, the man in the blue sweatpants kept coming to mind. Why was he just blatantly standing in the way? And then my thoughts wandered to…why did I react that way? Even though I said nothing, I knew I felt a lot of hostility towards him.
I was reminded that Jesus would go out of his way to the man in the blue sweatpants. I usually think of things Jesus would do but cant make complete sense of it. But the more I thought about it, the more it did make sense to me.
I believe in a lot of ways, our lives are cyclical. People become hostile and guarded because of the circumstances in their life – the way people treat them —-> affects their actions —–> which affects the way others treat them —–>which teaches people how loveable they are. If that man is used to people just pushing past him with hostility, he’s not going to WANT to get out of people’s ways, because that’s how he’s used to people responding to him. He is taught that that is the way he is treated regardless…Why should he really be nice to people then?
I should have dropped my attitude and replaced it with a friendly demeanor. I don’t know how that man has been treated in the past – and so I can’t assume that he was trying to be rude because he may have just been sick of society’s reaction to him and plunged into apathy, for everything. I should have said, Excuse me sir with a smile.
21If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the LORD will reward you.
*Petro USA is located on 5th St. highway by the route 12 exit near Dunkin’ Donuts. It seriously has the cheapest gas in Reading. It is a cash only gas station.