“…but the greatest of these is love.”
There is so much hurt in the world, in people’s lives, and in their hearts. The majority of us have experienced something deeply painful, heart wrenching, catastrophic even in some cases, and yet we persevere. And yet we continue forward, filled with a hope, however small, that things will get better.
I truly believe, deep in my soul, that as human beings we have the innate ability to mirror our Creator out into the world around us. Each day we get to choose our attitudes, our disposition, how we respond to challenges and trials, how we treat those around us, especially the ones who are hard as heck to love. How we live our lives speaks volumes about the state of our hearts and the salvation of our souls.
I work four days a week in a customer service call center. The people whose calls I take are generally upset about an order or a refund, and I’m the one they complain to. There are days where the constant pettiness and negativity feel like they’re drowning me. Some days it takes everything in me to not scream at someone for blaming their incompetence on me. Some days I am nearly brought to tears due to the harshness of people’s words. Some days I want to walk out and never look back. But some days, most days if I’m being honest, if I open my heart really wide and allow love, humility, kindness, and empathy to bleed out, I am able to see people as more than their complaints. I am able to see them as sons and daughters of my Heavenly Father. I am able to recognize clearly that each one of them was made in the image of God, and their bad behavior is no different from my shortcomings, all a nasty side effect of the fall in Genesis 3.
There was a woman that called today, her order had many notes from multiple representatives in my call center indicating significant confusion and dispute between her and us regarding the product she ordered and the product she received. She rang to my phone and the first thing she says is “I just talked to a woman there and I don’t understand why she was so mean to me. I just want to figure this out, I don’t understand.” She then went on to tell me she had recently lost two of her sons in an accident, and the previous representatives harsh demeanor and tone and pushed her to the point of tears. As I sat on the phone consoling this woman I didn’t know whatsoever, I scanned her order, looked up the product, and realized the confusion stemmed from the initial phone order where the representative from our company had ordered her the WRONG item. The customer knew what she was talking about but didn’t know how to articulate that she did not order this product, and instead of helping her, every other person she had gotten on the phone had been condescending and rude, writing her off as a crazy woman who ordered the wrong item and was now trying to pass blame. Listening to her cry drove home the realization that we are so fragile. We balance our pain with everyday life, and sometimes even the slightest stress added can tip the whole scale and send it crashing to the ground, no matter how insignificant that stress may seem in the grand scheme of things. I patiently helped the woman, sorted her mess out, and got the right item shipped to her. Her gratitude was so evident, it was clear I had made her day brighter by solving her problem, and in return her genuine thankfulness brightened mine.
Sometimes I think that God hides tenderness in the places we would least expect to find it. He weaves it into the darkness, into the despair, into the hopelessness. Love is a bright warm light that can change our perspective and help us see clearly. Love is the only lens we should view life and it’s Genesis 3 tainted circumstances through. Love is steadfast and it endures all things, because God himself is love.
Friends I urge you today, have the courage to be kind. We aren’t even aware at times of the power we hold to shake up another persons world, for better or for worse, with the words we say and the way we say them. You could be a catalyst, I hope you’ll strive to be one that makes peoples lives brighter and better, filled with more love and hope. Leave places and people infinitely better than you encountered them.