Time together and how we treat one another

What sad news was broadcast yesterday.

Thank God that my children had a normal day at school yesterday!  They wore school colors, had fun at a pep rally, got extra recess, and came home to me.  One came home with a fever, but at least he came home.

How petty I can be…I found any number of truly LITTLE things to nitpick about: the strep screen came back negative but I’m convinced he has it and just want him on the antibiotic NOW.  Baby had a hungry, fidgety night–grrr.  Little One tried coming into my bed around 5 a.m. and fidgeted around, contributing to the lack of sleep.

Who cares?  What does any of that matter, really?

How we treat one another is no small matter, but even our slightest slip-ups can have repercussions down the line that we would never have intended to bring on.  My impatience, annoyance, or self-righteous attitudes–no matter how momentary–send a sharp, underlying message to others that I DON’T MEAN.  I LOVE my kids–am SO grateful for them, and want them to realize how much I cherish them.

Still, when such tragic things happen as what happened yesterday, we all find ourselves asking, “Why?”  What could have happened between a mother and a son that he would end up taking people’s lives?  I’m by no means excusing his actions, but inevitably over the course of his life he was not treated well, and the build-up finally exploded into his actions yesterday.  I’m not blaming his mother.  It’s entirely possible that many people he came in contact with over the years did not treat him well.

When we have a difference of opinion with someone else, how do we choose to respond?  Do we act visibly annoyed?  Do we gossip about it?  Do we belittle them or patronize them?  Or do we just let it go–maybe even let them have their way as a measure of self-sacrifice?

When we find someone’s personality, choices, or behavior odd, do we fixate upon it, following up with more of the same choices as mentioned above?  The slightest “look” on our faces can send such strong messages to that person about their worth: a smirk while saying “nice sweater” followed up by whispers to a friend about how ugly the sweater really is and how crazy you’d have to be to wear it surely doesn’t get past that person.  And who are we to say why someone would make that choice of attire–maybe it was the last gift given/made for them by a beloved grandmother before she died, and maybe it was her birthday and that individual’s way of honoring her life.  Who knows?  Why do we take it upon ourselves to be judge and jury at so many times and in so many ways?

True, I just plain don’t care for conflict.  I’d much rather be a peacemaker.  Yet, because I’m sinful, I surely slip up in my life.  It’s easy to get lazy about how I treat people in those difficult moments of stress, hurry, and confusion.  But, those are the moments that probably matter the most.

Lord, please give me compassion towards others.  Please make me sincere and fill my heart with forgiveness.  Please give me a joyful spirit as I interact with others.  Please help me find that which is positive about others to build up and focus on.

Please be with the families who have hugged their babies for the last time, and give them peace about the fact that they didn’t know it would be their last.  Please, let those little ones have known about you and be at your right side right now.

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