Today’s post comes from my friend Talitha. She wrote this to share how God revealed an important message to her about pride though an everyday circumstance. I thought it was so relatable and honest that I’d love to share it with you too. She writes:
For a long time, I have had a growing irritation with what I perceive as a disrespect or offense by others when they walk down a sidewalk or hallway on the “wrong” side. We drive on the right side of the road and it has been a social norm to walk on the right side of the sidewalk or hall when someone is approaching from the opposite direction.
I realize this may sound silly, but it has been a real annoyance to me as I see more and more people not following this norm and I have wondered if they are ignorant, oblivious, stupid or intentionally selfish and rude. For years, I have been moving out of their way, even when I was in the “right” on the right side. Recently, I decided that I had reached my limit and would begin to stand my ground. These people weren’t going to take advantage of me forever, by golly!
Shortly after that “earth-shaking” decision, I was on a walking path near my home; to the far right, of course. The path is basically wide enough for three small to average sized people to walk next to each other. There were three women walking toward me, side by side by side. Two of them were clearly together and the third just happened to be there. The third woman was also in “my lane” heading straight for me. Our eyes met and we kept walking towards each other. We both had two options to avoid a collision. I could either stop dead in my tracks and let the other woman go around me or step off the path into wet grass and a little mud. The other woman could either move to her right (where she belonged) or she could step off the path into the grass and mud. When we were within three steps of each other, the other woman realized in horror that I was not going to deviate. She chose the wet grass and mud. I felt a bit vindicated…for a moment.
Shortly, my southern manners and Christian conviction kicked in. The woman was older than me, not elderly, but certainly older and, as a good southern girl, I am supposed to respect my elders and give consideration to them. I certainly didn’t do that for this woman. As a Christian, there is a whole host of attitudes and actions that should have come into play. More on that subject in a moment.
Fast forward a little. I was walking down the corridor (on the right side, if course) heading toward my office suite. There was a younger man walking toward me, directly in my path, texting. As we approached each other, he looked up, saw me, put his head back down and kept walking & texting. He made no effort to move to the “proper” side of the hall. As we drew within a few steps of each other and my office door, it was obvious he was not going to move over, so I did…proclaiming for all to hear, “Oh sure, I’ll be the one to move!” His head jerked up and I heard him stammer, “Oh, uh, uh, I’m sorry…” as I went in to my office. I was not having nice thoughts about him; in fact, I mentally blew off his apology as being insincere.
That’s when the Holy Spirit conviction went into overdrive. As I sat at my desk, I thought about the fact that even though I might be “right” about this whole “walking on the right” thing, does that mean that I have a right to demand this perceived “right”? Does it mean that I can act rudely and selfishly towards others just because I am tired of others treating me that way?
NO!!! Philippians 2 tells me “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Our society seems to be rotting at the core, as too many people demand their perceived rights, even at the expense of others. We’ve forgotten how to love one another. We see too many things as black & white, red & blue, left & right. We look for the worst in others. Am I contributing to the rotting stench with my selfish attitudes?
“Love is patient and kind; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;”
As a Christian, do I not have a doubled responsibility to treat others with consideration? I may not have the ability to change society (and make people walk on the right side!), but I can still walk humbly and obediently before my God.