Last week, I was backing out of a parking space at a local mall when . . . wham! I felt the impact of hitting another parked car. My heart started racing as I realized I had misjudged the distance and had hit another vehicle.
I pulled my van into another parking space and jotted a note to the owner of the pickup truck I had just hit: “I hit your truck while backing up. I will cover any necessary repairs. Please call me. I am very sorry.” I closed the note with my name and phone number.
A few hours later, an unknown number popped up on my cellphone. I held my breath as I answered my phone. Was it them? What kind of person were they? Would they respond in anger to what I had done? (I wouldn’t blame them.) Was I about to be on the receiving end of a lot of hurtful words? Would they remind me of the damage I had done?
“Susan, this is Becky. You hit my truck in the parking lot.”
I braced myself.
Her next words took me completely by surprise.
“I don’t want you to worry about what happened,” she said. “I was driving my husband’s truck. I will have him take a closer look at it when he gets home, but I didn’t see any damage myself. We’re not the type to go after people, so you don’t have to worry. It’s going to be okay.”
That was not the response I expected. Becky called me back a few hours later.
“We could only find one scratch, and we are going to chalk that up to normal wear and tear,” she said.
But our conversation didn’t end there. I told her I was at the mall to try to find a gift for my Bible Study teacher. That opened a door for her to ask me about my church and my faith. We rejoiced to discover we were sisters in Christ. She asked about the Bible Study and said she might even come to it. She ended the conversation by saying, “Well, now you have my number, so call me any time you have a prayer request. I would be honored to pray for you.”
Wow! I walked away from that interaction in awe. I thought about Becky’s response to my bumping into her. I realized that when others hurt, offend, or “bump into” me in life, I can choose to do as Becky did. I can choose to:
See the worth in others
Becky treated me with great respect and compassion. I felt valued by her. She interacted with me in a gentle and kind way. I had caused some harm; yet, she chose to look at me above what had happened.
I thought about how the Lord created all human beings in His image (Genesis 1:26). Each one of us is precious and valued in His sight. The Bible tells us, “For God so loved the world”—that’s all of us!—“that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NASB). If God loved each of us enough to send His Son to die for us, then we should take special care in dealing with one another.
I heard grace described once as “the act of giving us something we don’t deserve.” I expected anger, criticism and judgment, and I received compassion, love, and encouragement from Becky. She shifted her gaze from how she had been wronged to how she might be able to help another person. She asked herself what I might need, and she chose to give it.
Philippians 2:4, NASB, says, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” That’s what Becky did. The Bible also says, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:31, NASB). Becky did that too.
Jesus did that. He gave us what we didn’t deserve. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NASB). He looked ahead to what was best for us, and that’s how He endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2, NASB). He laid aside His privileges as God and put all of us ahead of Himself. What he did was in our best interest, not His (Philippians 2:6-8).
Make Jesus known
As I reflected on my conversation with Becky, I thought to myself, “If I didn’t know Jesus before I spoke with her, I certainly would have wanted to know about Jesus after talking with her!” She made Jesus known to me by the way she chose to act and speak. She showed me His love, His grace, His longsuffering, His willingness to forgive, His refusal to condemn His own, His understanding, and His acceptance. I felt closer to Him after my encounter with Becky.
And Becky was willing to pray for me. My experience with her reminded me to pray for the people who “bump into” me as I go through life. “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” Jesus said (Matthew 5:44, NASB). He prayed for those who hurt Him as He was dying on the cross (Luke 23:34). He prayed for us before He died (John 17), and He prays for us now (Hebrews 7:25).
We can always pray, “Lord, what does this person need to know about You in this situation?” We can ask, “Lord, please empower me and use me to teach them about You.”
Becky did that for me. When I ran into Becky’s truck, she let me bump into Jesus.
Question: How did you meet Jesus in one of life’s bump-ups? Comment at the link below.
Susan Jane King