It's been a long day. You are just leaving the office and hang your head because you know it's - again - going to be dark by the time you arrive home and you likely won't have much time with the kids.
When will work ever let up? When will life get easier?
As you step out the door to your building, you realize that there is a homeless man sitting outside next to his bike that is weighed down with bags. Your response is to make a mad dash to your car so you can get home. The last thing will do is let some stranger stop you.
You arrive at your car, unlock the doors, throw in your bags, and hop in the driver's seat. And exhale. Finally, let's go home.
But, as you begin pulling out of the parking space, you feel a very strange bumpy, almost wobbly sensation. No way. You cannot have a flat tire. Not today. Not this long after hours when everyone is gone - and you want to be, too.
Putting the car in park, you hop out and take a look. Sure enough - it's completely flat. You call home and share the message and then head for the spare tire. Except, you don't have one. Nooo!
As a last resort, you pull out your AAA card and ask for assistance. Wait time? Just over two hours. Waiting alone gets boring after awhile, so you decide to empty the spare change from your car into your hand and grab a few extra dollar bills. Then, you walk over to that homeless man.
His name is Earl and he just lost his wife of 55-years. Earl is going through a hard time and just wants someone's shoulder to lean on as he shares stories about happier times in his life. Earl wants nothing more.
As you rest your head on your pillow that night, you realize that your heart is full. You have a wife and a family that is still thriving - and you are alive to witness it.
Perspective. It is all about perspective. So many things in life that we encounter on a daily basis will either make us a better person or tear us down. And it all comes down to how we look at it.
Take the above story, for instance. You can gripe and moan and complain because work kept you out later than you'd prefer. Or, get angry because your tire was flat. After all, no one wants to be stuck because of a tire when you were just heading home from a long day. Talk about crushing hopes!
But, what happens when you look at it from a different perspective? What happens when you consider that perhaps everything happened as it did -- the extra work causing you to be late and the flat tire with no spare -- so that you could be there for Earl. You were to be a blessing to him. And, in return, he was a blessing to you by reminding you what you still have in your life.
Do you see it?
In Luke 6:37-39 (NKJV), Jesus says:
"Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you...For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
It is easy to read that and say, Oh, sure, ok, yes, I don't judge. Well, I mean, when someone does something stupid of course I have to laugh at them. Who doesn't? And sure, I forgive. I don't forget - but I will forgive. Well, as long as it is not something too too serious. Otherwise, there are some things you just can't forgive.
Do you think God has the same perspective when it comes to the words Jesus spoke? Do you think he saw some loophole in there, too?
Newsflash: There is no loophole. There is no disclaimer. There is no little asterisk or fine print. If you want God's full forgiveness and wish not to be judged or condemned, then you need to do the same to others. Regardless of their actions or who they are. We can't view things how we want to see them. God knows our hearts and he sees our moves. And, he gives us back what we dish out.
"...eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand..." - Exodus 21:24 Should we add forgiveness for forgiveness, love for love, goodness for goodness, mercy for mercy, and so forth?
Sometimes, instead of just focusing on what is being put out there -- what we are responsible for -- we need to look at life from a different perspective. We need to see the bigger picture, the behind-the-scenes look, if you will. And, when you do, you will likely find there is a lot more joy attached than you ever thought possible.