TODAY ‘S FORECAST: Humbled
Our cleaning lady, Tina, was here today. Oh how I love “Tina days!” 🙂 With my more recent health challenges, Tina is a necessity in our lives rather than a “nice-to-have.” She is an essential part of keeping our household running smoothly and germ free. After the six plus years she’s been cleaning for us, she has become much more to us than our cleaning lady, she’s become a good friend. Bob and I attended her and her husband’s wedding. We have shared trials and tribulations as well as celebrations and joy regarding our kids. When I was in the hospital, Tina and her hubby brought me flowers. When my health really started to hit a bad point, she cleaned our house for free for several months. She is very dear to me and I have great respect for her for the obstacles she’s overcome in her life. We also have a mutual respect that’s built on honesty and tact.
Never in the time that Tina has cleaned for us have I ever thought less of her because of her occupation. Even over the years of getting to know her and learning that she has had a very different life than mine, I have never thought of her as “just the cleaning lady.” There is way more to her than that. She knows it, I know it, but not all the people she encounters in her profession do. Just from the little she’s said about her other cleaning engagements (and it’s very little because she is very discreet about her clients), it’s obvious that some have treated her quite poorly. I think of the Cinderella story sometimes where the wicked stepmother and stepsisters are shouting constant demands, “Do this, clean this, iron this, hem this, scrub this, etc.” It made me so sad in realizing that there are people who actually treat Tina and people in all sorts of service professions with this kind of disrespect. Then I looked back at my own life today and realized that while I may not have treated Tina that way, there are probably instances in my life where I’ve said something equally unkind to someone providing a service to me that may have undermined their self-esteem or made them feel less than who they really were. Gulp.
Ephesians 4:29 says, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen and Romans 15:2 says, Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.
Both of those verses speak of building people up, not tearing people down. They don’t say that the exception is if you are in position A, you have the right to admonish the person in position B. It just doesn’t work that way. We’re supposed to be kind to everyone, period. In Colossians 3:12 it says, Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Again, there is no exception included in this guidance.
This weekend I would challenge all of you to put on kindness, especially to people who are in a position of serving you in some way. Maybe it’s the young girl at the pizza counter who is not counting the change as fast as you’d like. Maybe it’s the waiter at your favorite restaurant or the janitor at your church. Perhaps it’s the lady at the fast-food drive-in taking your order, your home health aid or nurse, your masseuse, your hair stylist, the guy packing your groceries or even your own cleaning lady. Really think about the words you speak. Are they words that will build up or tear down?
Try to be kind. I’ll do the same. We’ll all learn together, right? 🙂 God bless and easy breathing!