Well, we all know I am a magnet for interesting people and conversations, but it seems my dear husband manages to get himself into some doozies with no help from me what-so-ever.
We made a quick trip to Iowa Sunday and Monday and the following is HIS experience that I have been given permission to share, and possibly embellish slightly for entertainment purposes…
There are not a lot of options for overnight stays in his old stomping grounds so we have become regulars at the Super 8. They offer a continental breakfast and a place to clean your game…so, always good to know, right?
We usually just avail ourselves of the breakfast since we aren’t big on hunting…. unless groundhogs count.
Monday morning, Russ had headed down before me; so was finished eating by the time I arrived. As I dined on my my egg and sausage patty, he mentioned that it was a good thing I had missed the fireworks.
It seems a young man in his early twenties had come to the dining area with a loud vent full of choice words about the accommodations, the town and his job. Thankfully Russ gave me the PG version of the guy’s rant, substituting initials for actual words.
Apparently Russ had enough of the expletives and glanced over at the other table, with eyebrows raised and said directly to him, “Excuse me?”
As in, “Are you talking like that to me? Because you are loud enough that I can’t help but hear you…”
If you know my husband, he did this in a polite but firm manner that showed no disrespect to the individual but addressed the behavior.
As he calmly shared this information with me, I may have choked on my food. I silently thanked the good Lord that I take FOREVER to get ready and missed all of this, because while I would complain endlessly to friends, family and you people about this guy and tell you what I WANTED to say…I would never actually have the guts to confront someone who is openly displaying the worst of humanity for public viewing.
According to Russ, the young man made some kind of smart aleck comment and stormed off.
And then the kid came back. And apologized. And told Russ waaaaaaay more information than you all should have to hear about his personal life and his problems.
And Russ listened, and gave him encouragement.
See, I would have missed all that.
Because I wouldn’t have wanted to experience the confrontation and potential rejection to get to the part where the kid was hurting.
So often we think that “love for others” means we don’t confront them when what they are doing is wrong.
We equate “love” with “looking the other way”.
And we miss out on a lot of ministry when we don’t remember that love cares enough to hold people accountable to what is good and right and true.
It doesn’t always work out this way, but it is a good lesson to me about speaking the truth, in love…tough love, genuine love, accountable love.
May God give us the insight to know when and how to speak words of wisdom, the courage to do so and a heart for reconciliation that leads to opportunities to minister to those around us.