Your lawn guy and his cute wife:)
Recently, my husband had a client (who is also an acquaintance of ours) call him to complain about something, and the client used foul language, was insulting and was extremely condescending. Michael isn’t one to get off the phone from a conversation like that and instantly come to me and complain about it (unlike me, unfortunately:). Instead, I had to pull it out of him a couple of days later.
When he told me what this person had said to him–and then how upon personally meeting at the person’s home to survey things, the client had ended up being almost laughably in error–I was so upset that evening that I could hardly fall asleep. How could someone talk to my hardworking, honest, good-hearted husband like that? Don’t they know he is a fantastic father and husband? Don’t they know he is also an engineer and a math whiz and can run circles around most people doing 3D calculus in his head?
I think I was upset about this particular episode, though, because it’s not the first time a client has treated Michael like that, by any means. We are in the business of lawn care and landscaping services, which is obviously a very menial labor line of work at times. It’s easy to blame “the lawn care guy” when things go wrong. Why is it so easy to let ourselves jump to harsh conclusions and find fault when we assume someone has less education, social standing, or financial success than we do?
From the lawn care company you use, to telemarketers, to the Comcast support person, to the plumber…as Christians and as balanced human beings, we are called to reign in our temper and, for Heaven’s sake:), to stay in perspective.
Sure, it’s frustrating that you’ve had Internet problems for two days and you can’t seem to get the problem fixed. Sure, it’s frustrating when the receptionist gave us some information that ended up being incorrect. Sure, it’s frustrating when you thought you reserved two sets of beach umbrellas at your vacation home and they accidentally mess up your reservation. Sure, it’s frustrating when you hear a thick foreign accent at the other end of the phone and you know they are going to ask you for money or you will have to wade through that accent to get help solving a tech problem on your laptop.
Be firm, yes. Be your own advocate, yes. But don’t be rude. Don’t be condescending. Ever. That “incompetent,” “lazy” person is someone else’s wife or husband, daughter or friend…even if they are being complacently incompetent or lazy or rude to you.
Just because you don’t chew somebody out for an offense doesn’t mean you are being a doormat. You making someone else feel small and crummy is not justice. Only God is fully just, but along with that He is infinitely merciful. And because we can never know the full story, and because we are not called to mete out justice in place of God, we’ve all got to work on the mercy part.
So please treat your lawn guy with respect. Practice mercy in all things, and be an example to others of the kind of mercy that God has and calls us to imitate.