“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Today I started work in a job in customer services (please forgive me for not giving more details, but I don’t want there to be any possibility of getting into trouble with my employer). One thing I have learnt, after one day in this job, is that there is something so deeply wrong with the human race.

I realise this seems like a big statement to make after one day in work, but the way some humans have such a strong sense of self-entitlement baffles me.

Already, after one day, I am vowing to quit complaining over silly things because there are people in the world who have it so much tougher. I will never again get angry with someone in customer services because, chances are, they aren’t causing the problem I’m having.

It just makes me so sad to see humans attacking their fellow man like this, and now that I am on the receiving end of those attacks I feel it even more strongly. We were not created to be like this, we weren’t created to treat total strangers like dirt, to make assumptions that because of the job that they are in that they are stupid.

There’s an amazing verse in Hebrews that has been stuck in my mind this evening:

Hebrews 13:2
“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing.”
(NIV)

When I come into contact with a new customer this person is one of thousands (possibly millions), but to them I am the main representative for this company. At first contact we are total strangers and, when this contact ends, we are still strangers, and while some of these people have treated me very graciously, others haven’t. They have treated me like I am the cause of their problems, as if my company’s policies are my personal attack on them for bothering to approach me, as if I should do whatever they ask, and, most hurtfully, as if I am stupid.

I understand why people get annoyed with companies as a whole, I truly get that and don’t want to make you think that I believe that these people should just shut up and move on, but would it hurt to treat people with a bit of grace? To consider that maybe they are struggling?

I am so lucky to be loved by a God who treats me like this, who encourages me to have this attitude, because I believe that the treatment I receive in my job (and, to be fair, in day to day life sometimes) isn’t treatment that I want other people to experience. The quote in the title was stuck in my head all day for this reason. It’s important to love people because we’re all fighting, we’re all struggling. The human race has done enough to hurt each other, what with wars and illness and poverty and hunger, so in everyday life, when things are pretty peachy and we’re not bombing each other, wouldn’t it be better if we could all just have some respect for each other?

My favourite band, Switchfoot, have a brilliant song called ‘Let Your Love Be Strong’ and one of the lyrics goes like this:

Maybe I’m just idealistic to assume that truth,
Could be fact and form,
That love could be a verb,
Maybe I’m just a little misinformed.

I suggest you listen to this song in its entirety because it is truly beautiful. However, sometimes when I talk about loving people through their bad attitudes and hurtful behaviour I wonder if I’m being idealistic. I wonder if I have too much hope, and that none of it will ever come to fruition. But, the truth is, this belief is only idealistic if I can’t live out this attitude of love; with God I am fully capable of it. Like I said above, I am so lucky to be loved by a God who treats me with such grace, and I believe that because I have been treated in this way by my Jesus, that I am learning from the best. I owe it to Him to treat others in the way that He treats me all the time.

I’m not trying to say that I’m perfect, that I’ve never yelled at someone in customer services or been rude to people to try and get what I want, but this job is changing my mind and my heart and, in some ways, I’m glad that God has put me in this position, to work on my heart and to grow me even more. I think it’s easier to love people if you realise why people need to be loved so much, and that is something I am learning right now.

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