A day ago I watched as a lady, man and child parked a car right in front of grocery store. They parked the car right where a “No Parking, Fire Lane”, was clearly marked on the pavement. It really burned me up. But why does that anger me so much? I wanted to say something to embarrass them, but then thought it wise to remain silent. The could were a young people, the child was healthy, the car did not have a “special needs” tag on the mirror, and besides, there were a dozens of places in the best parts of the parking lot still empty.
No, these folks were just lazy and were taking advantage of the fact that no one would tow their car away or arrest them. They were chatting and smiling as they parked their SUV right by the front door and walked right in as if they did not have a care in the world.
In my mind I decided that these people were the same kind of people that never paid their income taxes and receive government assistance for their food, heating and living expenses. They were same kind, I guessed, that never pay their “fair share”, are always demanding their “rights”, because they were born in the USA—not because they’ve earned anything.
Truly, I was hateful in my heart to this couple because in my mind they were not only breaking rules but also teaching a six year old how to ignore basic tenets of living together in a community—i.e., park your car where you ought to and don’t put yourself first.
When I get angry about things like this I realize just how far I am from becoming a “Saint Francis of Assisi” ..or any other saint for that matter. Some things just get under my skin and I hope that “justice” takes place—-i.e., a policeman impounds their car or gives them a ticket. How else can we stop some folks from taking advantage of the kind-hearted folks at the grocery store that won’t call the police?
Within all of us is a desire for justice, fair-play, right living and abiding by the basic norms of civilization. It’s one reason, I think, that I don’t have so much of a problem with God’s anger, His wrath or the idea of hell—not that I want to receive any of it! But within me there is a hope—-placed their by God—-of wanting to be in a place where all things are good and worthy of commendation.
But I fail to meditate upon my own mistakes, laziness and sneakiness, with the same (or greater!) disdain than I do for people like this couple yesterday. It’s so, soooo easy for me to point out the splinters in the faces of others… and then excuse the beams in my own eye.
I pant for a holy place to live and grow—-where everything is right. But that place would not be right if I were there today in my present condition. His work in my life is not over yet—I have a long way to go. “Have your own way Lord—in my life, Lord, and then help me to gently remove those splinters in the lives of others…”