This past two weeks I have been dealing with a service issue nightmare. It’s a really long story, and if you really want to know all the details you can read it here. Basically, my refrigerator went out and I’ve been getting the big box runaround for two weeks with no resolution (and in fact a lot of backslide). There’s some nice details of coercion, lying, belligerence, and accusation all thrown in and mixed together on the part of the retailer, just to make things interesting.
The details are not entirely important to the thought process of this post except to say that it has been exceedingly frustrating and that I have been taken through the ringers a few time in dealing with the situation.
And through it all I have treated everyone I have encountered with decency and kindness, never threatening, never calling names, never cursing. In fact, in the middle of this ordeal a second technician showed up at my house late and I ended up feeding him part of my own dinner because I knew he was working past his time and was trying to help me and was hungry. That’s just the way I roll. Feeding the enemy, if you will. I guess I am a strong believer that pizza can pretty much fix anything.
Now, I have had many in my circles tell me that I should have gone in kicking and screaming with the boxing gloves on throwing a massive fit and as many punches as necessary to get things rolling. Let me just say that this is out of love for me because my friends hate to see people walking on me. I love that they love me enough to get angry on my behalf. I do understand that this method would probably have gotten me more attention earlier (and there have been moments when I was completely tempted to don the devil horns)…but is it the right attention? Yeah, maybe I could get my appliance replaced for free. Maybe I could get the puppets to jump through hoops and bow down at my feet. Maybe I could get everything I ‘deserve’ and then some.
But I can’t.
That might be some people’s superpower, but it’s not mine. I believe that kindness rules. I believe that radical love wins. And I believe that the pen is mightier than the sword, and when it’s not, at the end of the day my actions still have to dignify and glorify the God I openly profess to love.
Being a Christ follower and finding that place where the line is drawn between compassion and kindness and standing firm against adversity is a very difficult and daunting task. It is straight up hard. However, if I proclaim to believe in Christ and completely trust Him with my life, then I must demonstrate that truth in more than just word. It must be apparent in the way I travel my day-to-day journey and even more so when faced with extraordinary or frustrating circumstances. Without the deed, the words are hollow and fruitless. Just another example of Christian lip service, in my opinion.
Integrity is a hard thing to live out, my friends. I know what I ought to do, but my flesh constantly struggles against me…and all that Paul jazz. We all get it wrong from time to time; I get it wrong a lot of times. But don’t we still have to strive to get it right in our day-to-day dealings, nonetheless?
As a rule, we’re quick to require and even demand mercy and grace from others, but we are far less motivated to divvy it out in equivalent portions. Jesus didn’t really give us that liberty though, did He?
Look, when God gives you a platform, in my case a beautiful following in the 10s of thousands, you have a nonnegotiable obligation to fulfill the position well. I spend my life talking to struggling couples about the salve of kindness on their marriages and how radical love always wins. I cannot, therefore, in my moments of frustration rightfully act in a way that completely disregards the very truths – Christ truths – that I pour into the lives of others!
It would be a great hypocrisy, and it would undoubtedly taint the well from which I pour the water.
And here’s the deeper truth of the matters of my heart. Yeah, I am frustrated and angry. Rightfully so! Yet, it is far better for me to lose the money and to hold my head high knowing that I have acted in utmost dignity for the honor of God than walk away with the cash so soon spent and destroy my integrity in the eyes of the people He has allowed me to love and lead.
Because they are watching. Always, always watching.
So I choose to be love in action. And feed the enemy. It’s hard stuff in the moment, but the rewards are eternally breathtaking.
So here’s the sweet end to my story…because I posted my situation publicly, my devoted and protective following caused a social media firestorm directed at the company in question. With hundreds of tweets, shares, tags, and comments, they demanded attention. So much so that I have received calls from those at the company in charge who are now working directly with me to resolve the case and ensure that this is all fixed.
Because I have loved them – the people God has placed in front of me – so fiercely and so consistently over the last several years, they love me equally well in my moments of need. That is community. And that, friends, is simply beautiful.
Kindness rules; love wins. I still believe that. We just need to embrace it, believe it, live it.
Beautifully, brokenly yours,