You may not think a parking lot at a Kroger’s store would present an unusual incident but that day, it did. Noticing a prime parking spot near the front of the store, I turned the wheel to park. As I pulled in, I caught a glimpse of another car coming up the lane from the opposite direction. She stopped her car, and with a defiant, angry look on her face yelled out the window, “That’s my parking place!”
I have never been yelled at in this way and was curious as to what had her so riled up. Just before I leaned out my window to answer her, I felt the Lord tap my shoulder to respond with calmness and sincere kindness, so I smiled and said, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I will be happy to move and let you park here.” With that, I backed out and found another parking space.
But, that’s not the end of the story. As I busied myself at the vegetable counter in the store, I noticed the woman from the parking lot maneuvering toward me. She was in a wheelchair. I was stunned because I had not realized she was handicapped when we had our parking lot encounter. It had not been a handicapped spot we were vying for. I quickly thanked God that He had encouraged me to give a kind response to this poor woman. As she wheeled up to me, I could tell she wanted to say something. Her words were so heartfelt, I wanted to hug her as she explained, “Thank you so much for giving me the parking space. I can’t tell you how many times I’m almost there and someone pulls in front of me. It’s so aggravating. I want to apologize for my rudeness to you.”
Of course, I accepted her apology and felt God had taught me a very careful lesson not to harden my heart when others act in an unkind manner. Instead, he wants me to respond gently and with grace to people, even when they are out of sorts. We never know what they may be dealing with. A wise teacher once taught me that we have a choice as to how we respond to people. We can look at them through our own eyes and at times, be disgruntled, or we can look at them through Jesus’ eyes. In which case, we can then reflect to others the heart of Jesus. Of course, that would be grace, kindness, and understanding.