The last thing I expected was to be handed a life lesson with my cup of to-go coffee.
But that’s what I got.
It was a rare morning when I had nothing immediate on my schedule, so I’d found some precious free time to run through a drive-thru. I ordered my usual mocha latte and turned to head out the coffee shop parking lot.
I hardly had a second to sip, blink, breathe… before a car came barreling my way and I had to slam on my breaks to avoid a collision.
Steamed milk and coffee splattered across the to-go cup lid.
In my lap.
On my favorite worn-in jeans and all over my attitude for the morning. And I remember watching as the driver kept going through the parking lot, seemingly without care…
At that was the moment of choice. Right there. I picked up the baggage that driver left behind and started to roll with it:
- I was irritated. Why did they fly through a parking lot going that fast?
- Quick to anger. Seriously? Do they even notice who they’ve left in their wake?
- Hasty in judgment. They’re probably a terrible driver anyway. Or uncaring. They’re only thinking about their agenda. At least I stopped an accident here… “You’re welcome, by the way!”
Those thoughts are embarrassing to admit, but I bet we’ve all had them before. They may be raw and real, but they’re also EASY. But before I let that wave of those words wash over me, a softer voice edged in (Thank You, Holy Spirit!):
Two words of absolute truth.
I choose whether I’ll pick up an offense.
Whether real or imagined, small or big – I choose whether I’ll carry it. Whether I’ll watch the car drive away and while the other’s moved on, I choose whether I stay back in the muck and mire. It’s my choice. And that life lesson? Amazing. Unexpected. So hard to realize in the moment, but miraculous and FREEING when you look back at it.
Christ warns us of picking up offenses in Luke Chapter 17:
Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!
2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
—Luke 17: 1-4 (NKJV)
The driver didn’t stop.
Certainly didn’t repent or ask for forgiveness as I was scrubbing out my favorite (and now coffee-stained jeans). But it was a good lesson for me to learn.
Next time I’m perfect, I’ll let you know. (Please, please don’t wait around for that blog post…) Until then, I want to live in this picture of grace that Jesus outlines. I want to walk without baggage. I want my hands to be free from shackles, outstretched in service, embracing others in love. But I can’t do that if my hands are already full, carrying suitcases of offenses, unforgiveness, and judgments (no matter how small).
Next time I stop for coffee, I might wear a tarp to protect my lap. Just in case? But I’ll also remember something far more important— that I choose.
I drive into each day with the choice on what I’ll carry. Lord— please let it be grace.
Choosing GRACE today,