“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” –Matthew 7:3
Many weeks ago, I went to my favorite coffee place (Starbucks or as Graham Cooke says “St. Arbucks”) and I ordered my favorite drink. That afternoon, I was meeting my gal pal for cake and coffee, and when they called up my order I did not go up to the counter. You see, what I had ordered was a sweetened iced coffee with 2% milk, and what they had called out was a sweetened cold brew with 2% milk. My friend asked, “Isn’t that your drink”? Skeptical, I walked up to the counter, read the label “cold brew”, and when the very nice barista noticed my quizzical expression, he told me “that’s yours”. So I grabbed the cup, and a little bummed returned to my seat. When my friend asked, “What was wrong?”. I just stared at the counter with a saddened expression and whispered, “I got a cold brew..”. She then replied with, “Isn’t it the same?”. And that’s where this started…
Contrary to popular belief, an “iced coffee” and a “cold brew” coffee are not the same thing.
By appearance: yes.
By color: yes.
By taste: no, no, no.
The difference between these two beverages lies in the brewing process. An “iced coffee” is just regularly brewed coffee poured over ice, but a “cold brew” is different. The brewing process for a “cold brew” involves soaking coarse-ground beans in water for 12 hours or more (usually overnight). The result: a coffee beverage with less acidity and less caffeine content. So although they look similar, they are two distinct coffee beverages.
Which brings me to Matthew 7:3, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”. How often do we look at a situation, and immediately start imposing our own views over it? Just because a similar experience may have happened to us, does not mean that it is the same for another individual. Likewise, just because someone is upset or may even come across as disrespectful, does not always indicate that it is because of us. But how often do we point the faults of another without looking at ourselves? The other day, someone came into the place I work and needed assistance. This person’s behavior included: three irritated sighs, finger tapping on the counter, and speaking over another individual. After analyzing her behavior it would appear this person was a) in a hurry b) irritated c) disrespectful/rude. These were the first observations I made, and honestly I was a bit annoyed at the entire situation. Luckily, it was time for my lunch break so I left thinking it was all behind me…
I was jamming out to some song on the radio, when I felt my thoughts interrupted by..
knock, knock, knock.
Ignoring it, I stopped at the red light and put on my turning signal.
-There it was again, knock, knock, knock.
I made my turn, and then the words, “Sarahi, (pause), Sarahi”. Okay by now He had my attention. This was the internal conversation:
Me: “Yes I know but she was rude”
Him: “Grace child. Have you not also had bad days?”
Me: (By now I know the source of the times I have had bad days and those around me have been tolerant with me and sometimes call me out on it–these are the things that haunt me the most. I am not proud of it, and take it hard when I am not reflecting God’s love).
Him: “They love you, just as I love you, and I love her. You don’t know her story; she was having a bad day. (Him still feeling resistance on my part) What if she doesn’t know any better?”.
And by then my hands were up in full surrender and when I got home, I prayed. I prayed for forgiveness, for correction, and for another opportunity to see it through Christ’s eyes and not my own. And then I prayed for this individual. I asked God to bless her, to make her laugh, that she would feel appreciated, loved, and cherished, and that she would cross paths with another churched member that day.
He has a way like that, to help me see what I can’t see. I don’t know this person, for all I know her pet had died or her significant other broke up with her or her roommate decided to move out. The only thing I knew were the facts: she was young, she had a problem, and came to the place where I work for help. That is all I knew. Yes, her behavior did come off as disrespectful. Could I had been the reason? Perhaps. Perhaps I typed too slow and she was in a hurry to get to another appointment. But likewise outside factors could have been the reason for the disrespectful behavior, and just to really throw things up a bit, maybe she wasn’t rude at all. What if she is from another area where this type of behavior is what the culture there considers “normal”?
-Yeah, God really taught me something that day..
Iced Coffee and a Cold Brew Coffee can be on a counter and appear to be the same beverage. But as you get closer, you will observe a difference in tint, label, and if you research the brewing method, you will see these two coffee beverages are not the same. They hold similar qualities but still not the same.
So just because some one is having a bad day, does not mean you are the reason for their bad day. Just because you have lived through a similar life experience (college, dating, breakups, engagements, weddings, promotions) does not always make you qualified to give advice. Most of the time, people are just seeking to be listened to, comforted, and loved. A smile, a word of kindness, forgiveness, an act of service are great methods to extend that type of acceptance and understanding towards them. We don’t hold the answers, but there is One who does and through our actions and words we can point them to that Light they need to obliterate the darkness.
Please, don’t mistake me, I don’t have it all figured out. I mess up A lot, ALOT, but God is kind, gracious, and forgiving. He loves me and He loves you too. Others may not know the depth of your story, but the Creator does.
As always, thank you for reading. I hope this post served the purpose God intended for it to be composed. Blessings!