Yesterday I didn't need to buy anything from them, I needed to return something to them. I knew this was going to be a major undertaking before I ever stepped in the door. I walked up to the Customer Service desk and waited. No one was there. I was worried that the rapture had happened. I looked over toward the regular registers and no one was working any of those either, but I figured I had a better chance of being noticed, so I went. I waited in the ghost town for a while and eventually someone begrudgingly came. This person called for a manger who, it turns out, was the long lost descendant of Tomas de Torquemada, leader of the Spanish Inquisition. Long story short, I returned my item.
The only problem was (besides everything) that I lost my temper with the lady behind the counter. Bad. I was embarrassed, everyone in the store was embarrassed, and the manager was reaffirmed in her assessment that her job sucks. So I left.
Now the pre-planning of my day determined that right after this I was to spend time in prayer. And as you might imagine, I could not pray. God has determined that if we can't love the people standing right next to us, there is no way we are going to be able to love him, who we cannot see.
Outside of the gospel, I really don't owe this lady anything. I don't even owe her courtesy. I will pay her courtesy as long as that gets me what I want, until it doesn't, and then I will switch tactics. But if I am a sinner saved by grace, and she is made in the image of God, then I have a duty to her that goes far beyond courtesy. Because the truth is that while I cannot control the circumstances or the service in that Office Max, I can choose my response to them.
So I bought her a Starbucks card and I went back and apologized. Not for my sake, because I can get over it and sleep at night. Not for her sake because she will, too. But for the sake of the gospel. Because a God who has gone to such extravagant lengths for me, even when I am berating poor ladies in OfficeMax, asks me to love other people well. And if I owe him everything, what is there that he cannot ask of me?
I went in and apologized. I thought the lady was going to die from shock.