I was recently at an outdoor concert at my church. I saw a father and daughter ride up on their bikes, clearly enjoying the time they were having together. My wife knew the young daughter, so we walked over to say hello. Samantha asked the girl and her dad “what brought you here?” The father said they were outside and heard some music so they decided to see what was going on. Something so small brought them joy and they stayed and listened to the music until it was over.
Within 10 minutes of this introduction, a police officer pulled up to the concert. He got out and had a discussion with our pastor, who organized the event. The police had received some calls about noise complaints and came to request that we shut the party down. Our pastor apologized, but luckily we were wrapping it up by the time the police showed up. I can picture the anger and annoyance of the people calling in, because I can recall being there myself.
One responded with curiosity and excitement. The other responded with anger and frustration.
This is a simple story, but leads to the question: what caused one or the other?
You’re responsible for how you respond.
It also leads to this: you’re responsible for how you respond. I’m not saying the second was wrong in this case, because it is definitely understandable. But, too many times I catch myself responding negatively when I get interrupted or get annoyed at the actions of others. Reality is, with a different mindset I could be excited to address the person coming into my office and laugh at the goofiness of someone just having fun. It really is up to me…
It’s not that you can never respond negatively, but what is that doing for you? In looking at myself, I’ve started to realize my negative responses become a poison to my soul.
With Christmas and family time right around the corner, this can become an even bigger hurdle. Patience can be lacking during this season, whether it be with family, coworkers, or even strangers. But as a Christian, now is an even more important time to show Christ’s love to those around you.
We’re constantly bombarded with a choice. I’ve found myself too often choosing the curmudgeon way. So what choice will you make? Let’s all be a little more joyful this holiday season.