Just as she was exiting the parking space, another car approached from the opposite direction. The young, inexperienced driver drove up, completely oblivious to us waiting patiently in front of her, and selfishly hooked her car into the spot.
Honking the horn several times in an attempt to get her attention, my husband rolled down his window. The girl was unfazed as she pulled in and turned off her ignition.
"Oh no, she didn't."
Neither of us could believe this driver's audacity. She blatantly ignored us. Without hesitation, she took what was rightfully ours.
We found that space first. We had our blinker on. We were following the rules of the road.
As we waited for her to get out of her car, our own girls' rapid-fire questions began.
"What just happened? Why did she do that?" Etc. Etc. Etc.
After what seemed like an eternity, our challenger finally emerged from her car.
Leaning out his window, my husband informed her, "Excuse me, but we were waiting for that spot. Did you not see us sitting here with our blinker on?"
Her unapologetic and curt reply: "Nope. Guess I didn't."
And with that, she smugly turned around and stepped onto the sidewalk.
Miffed, my husband started to drive off until I said, "Stop the car. I'm getting out. Right here."
I'm not exactly sure what I was going to do when I crossed in front of our car and headed in her direction. I'm not exactly sure what I thought I was going to say when I caught up with her, but I knew a confrontation was in order.
After all, as a thirty-eight year old Mama and educator, I had an obligation to teach Miss Thang a lesson in parking lot etiquette, something she apparently had yet to learn.
Determined to give her the "what for and the why not", I followed her along the sidewalk. She turned to look over her shoulder a couple of times and then dodged into one of the retail stores in the strip mall.
Should I follow her in? If so, what do I say? Or...do I turn around and back off?
With my hand nearly on the door handle of the store she just entered, I found myself faced with those two options.
Reluctantly, I chose to stop. I turned around and walked into another store to cool off.
As I stepped inside, I could feel the heat radiating through me. What was I about to do? Stalk a young girl? Who was I about to become? The crazed shopper who could've easily been filmed on a smart phone and turned into the latest You Tube holiday sensation? Seriously?
As I regained clarity, I heard One Voice in my mind, "Why are you so offended? Bless those who persecute. Bless and do not curse." (see Romans 12:14)
They were the exact same words and life lessons my girls and I had been discussing the past month during our Bible and prayer time. Bless. Pray. Turn the other cheek. Don't be so easily offended.
I'll be honest. In no way did I feel like blessing this young lady. Not. At. All.
No, because of this injustice, I'm ashamed to admit I felt like blessing her out instead.
But thankfully my Father intervened. And in that moment, He renewed my mind. My spirit became willing even though my flesh was still struggling.
What story did I want to convey to my own girls when I returned to the car? Did I want them to see a Mama who huffs and puffs and chooses to retaliate at the first sign of offense? No. I did not.
Technically, I know this girl didn't break a law. But she did break the southern law of kindness while driving in a parking lot. How should I respond? As a child of God, I'm called to open my mouth and speak with wisdom. On my tongue should be the law of kindness, not revenge (see Proverbs 31:26).
Looking back, I am so grateful for God's gentle whisper to get my attention. I am so glad He stopped me from stumbling and kept me from further harm--to myself, to the young girl and to my witness with my own daughters and the rest of the Christmas shoppers.
I am glad my husband and I were the ones she wronged. If it had been anyone else on any other day, she may have left her shopping venture with four flat tires or a nice, long key mark on the side of her car. :)
"Great peace have they who love your law;
nothing shall offend them or make them stumble."
Psalm 119:165 (Amplified)
How do you handle this world of offenses? Are you easily offended at the slightest injustice? If so, let's pray to choose humility over pride. Kindness over woundedness. Mercy over offense.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, let's live unoffendable lives.
"Lord, grant me that new creation heart that can walk as Jesus walked, through a world of offenses without stumbling. I want to see everything as an opportunity to pray, everything as an opportunity to become Christlike. Lord, help me interpret offenses as opportunities that lead to transformations. Grant me, Lord Jesus, the pulse and beat of Your unoffendable heart. Amen." ~ Pastor, Francis Frangipane