That’s it in a nutshell.
No really, that’s it…BE NICE.
I found this sign online and realized simple as it was, it’s not practiced nearly enough. By me, by anyone. Some would say it takes no effort to be nice. But I have a feeling many others would say the opposite.
Why is it so hard to be nice?
The only answer I can come up with is that self gets in the way. What we want, when we want it. My way or the highway mentality.
Case in point. Last week I made a quick stop at Walmart. Really, only needed 5 things. Three were in the pharmacy and two in the grocery. So easy peasy.
Our Walmart has solo check-out lines in the garden center and in the middle of the front section, all with cashiers. Then there are two areas, one near each entrance/exit with lots of self-service registers. I love using them as it’s generally very quick.
Remember…I was in a hurry.
Being in a hurry was my issue, no one else’s. I was trying to jam too many errands into a one-hour timeframe. Big mistake.
After picking up my items from two opposite sides of the store, I purposely walked past the first set of self-service registers, opting instead for the ones at the other end, closer to my car. That was my second mistake.
None were working. In fact, the entire section was closed. WHAT? There were no signs posted so other people like me walked up to the registers only to see the out of service logo on the monitor. After looking at three different cash registers, I finally realized I was out of luck.
No problem (or so I thought).
No biggie, I just walked further on to the registers in the garden center which were packed with all those people who typically check their own items in the now non-working self-service section. After waiting five minutes and realizing the lines weren’t moving, I decided to walk ALL THE WAY BACK to the other end of the store to use the other self-check area. (The ones I purposely walked past ten minutes [or so it seemed] prior!)
Along the way, as I walked by the usually very busy single cash registers, I actually found one with a very short line. I chose that and got through quickly.
But at this point I was a little…hmmm, steamed shall we say. Quite possibly there was a little of it coming out of my ears. And to top it off, the cashier never greeted me and actually never said a word until I asked, not too politely, why the self-check area was closed. She mumbled a one-word response I didn’t understand at all.
As I walked away, my first thought was that she was rather surly and I wondered why she just couldn’t have been nicer. (And no, at that moment I didn’t at all think that I should have been nicer.)
The Holy Spirit spoke to me later, not about the nasty cashier but ABOUT ME. Yes, ABOUT ME. Of course, I immediately saw my biggest mistake. I was expecting a better attitude from a stranger and yet my attitude was the pits. Instead of wondering why she couldn’t be nicer, I should have been asking why I couldn’t be nicer.
Here’s what it takes.
No, it really doesn’t take much. It just means dying to self. Ugh. Really? Yes, really. It’s both that simple and that hard.
It means thinking about others. It means putting them ahead of you. It means rising above my own wrong motives, thoughts, and attitudes and considering someone other than myself.
Father, when others look at me or my actions, I want them to see you and not me. I want others to be impacted by your “wonderfulness.” I don’t want to be a stumbling block to someone else, that thing that interferes with them finding you. I ask you to continue working in me so the Christ in me outshines any of my sinful, selfish ways.
And I pray for that “surly” cashier, asking you to bless her with revelation of Who you are and how much you love her.