Give Others What They Deserve
So much effort had gone into my getting that hotel room right across from the Fort Worth Convention Center. This particular year, I was going to be within walking distance to the Premier Designs Rally that I was attending. My husband was joining me, and I wanted us to have lots of time to enjoy the Rally and the town, and that meant getting to register early so that we wouldn’t have to ride the transit buses to and from the convention center. I had earned my way to a first-spot registration, and that guaranteed me a room right across the street. SCORE!
Everything was set. I gave the hotel clerk my name and glanced back over my shoulder to give my husband, Kirk, a smile. As I turned back, the clerk said, “I’m sorry. We are overbooked and don’t have a room for you.” … Yeah, you can go ahead and reread that, but you didn’t misread.
“Excuse me,” I said. “That can’t be right. I’ve had this room booked since the reservation system opened for Rally at the beginning of the year.”
(Now let me be honest and say that the wording of the rest of this is likely not exact. It’s really hard to remember exactly what is said when you are so angry that your blood is boiling.)
“Okay. But we don’t have a room for you,” the clerk reiterated.
“Oh, yes, you will have a room for me,” I bit back. “You will find the room that I booked before anyone else at this hotel, and you’ll give me that room right now.”
You see, I was one of the unlucky few who was going to get snubbed that day. The hotel was going to intentionally hold some rooms so that they could charge exorbitant prices to last minute guests who showed up trying to get a room right across the street. NOT ON MY WATCH THEY WEREN’T.
This scene of my insisting and their denying went on and on. I got all the way up to the hotel manager. When he didn’t secure my room, I started stopping other guests from being able to check in. As they walked up, I would say that there were no rooms left at the hotel and that they should go find another place to stay.
You can imagine the scene. It’s not one of my finer communication moments. After what seemed like 30 minutes or more, my tactics worked. In addition, I was able to get a room for a breast-feeding mother who had suffered the same mistreatment that I had.
Now, you might be wondering what’s so wrong with the communication since I ended up getting what was rightfully mine, and the fact that you are wondering points to something that is truly hard to get people to buy. And here it is: others don’t deserve what they are doling out. … Take some time. I know you’re disagreeing with me right now.
Why shouldn’t I snap back at the person being rude or unreasonable?
Why shouldn’t I roll my eyes at the obvious lie or the mistreatment I’m receiving?
Why shouldn’t others get what they deserve?
The answer is that we are commanded to love our neighbor, and more importantly, to love them as Jesus loved. Impossible, I know, but we are obligated to try.
John 13:34 New International Version (NIV)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
So what does that love look like? It doesn’t look like what I was delivering that day in the hotel lobby. 😉
In Biblical language, it looks like this: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 New International Version (NIV)
We hear this verse read a lot at weddings, but we aren’t just commanded to love our spouses or kids this way. We are commanded to love everyone this way. It’s not the love that you have for your spouse or your kids that we are giving out. That love involves intimacy and emotions that aren’t possible for people we don’t really know.
The love it takes to stop ugly communication is the love that comes from respecting all other people for the fact that they are also made in God’s image. It’s love that comes when you know God’s Word and have faith to follow it at all costs to self-image.
You see. We mostly snap back at others or roll our eyes or say ugly things to people who are being ugly because we want to save face. We want to assert our rightness. We need others to see us as above. It’s pride that keeps us from doing communication from the love point of view. And pride is never recognized by the person who is prideful. Our pride keeps us from many loving acts.
Now, you might profess to not be a follower of Jesus Christ, and I would still say to you that treating others well is just the right human thing to do. We are thinking, rationalizing, logical, emotional beings. To truly be human, we must believe that we and others deserve to be treated rightly. If you feel that others should dump on you and treat you poorly, then you aren’t like any other person I’ve ever met. And if you don’t want poor treatment, then you should not give poor treatment…ever.
In the moment, getting back at people for a wrong to us can feel justified and good. I can tell you that I surely felt good about myself at that hotel. I showed them! The problem is that the communication in that situation was more harmful for me internally than I realized. I was changing the mental makeup of how I saw other people and what was allowable in my treatment of them. I was creating negative branches that went on to create webs of un-loving interactions.
Read it again: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 New International Version (NIV)
So what exactly do people deserve? Grace and mercy. Just what God has given to me.
Grace and mercy are what I wish to have when I make a mistake, say the wrong thing, lash out due to raging hormones, make a face at the situation before me. I’ll take grace and mercy, please.
Join me in loving everyone. #theimpactdirective is to begin with grace and mercy.
We can all use encouragement as we bring God and Grace with us into our daily mess. Join me and other impactors as we share positive impact with everyone who crosses our paths:
Connie Benoit Sirois
Consultant | Writer | SpeakerWe are called to love others as ourselves. Our communication gives us continual opportunities to do this. We should never miss a chance to honor others. I’d love for you to read about my mission.