Shared August 8th, 2014
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things,“Philippians 4:8.
This brings me to an article I came across, which recounts an experience by posing the following question: “How often do you let other people’s nonsense change your mood?
“Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? The mark of a successful [mature] person is how quickly he/she can get back his/her focus on what’s important.
“I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car’s back end by just inches! The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and started yelling bad words at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly.
“So, I said, ‘Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital.’ And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, ‘The Law of the Garbage Truck.’ He said, ‘Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on.’
“I started thinking, how often do I let garbage trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, ‘I’m not going to do it anymore.'”
How easy is it to implement “I’m not going to do it anymore”? You know, we’ve got to admit to ourselves that really, this is easier said than done. This is what I mean: Do you mean to tell me that when someone assaults you, lies about you, cruelly attacks your defenseless child, etc, that is, when they “dump their garbage” all over you it is easy to smile? That it is easy not to overreact? No, it is not easy and then too, there is the issue of to what extent, to what level do we overreact?
Truly, it is a command for the child of God to react in a Christ-like manner when persecuted for Christ’s sake; after all, doing so will enable you to resolve your “garbage.” And, it is true that when garbage dumpers dump their garbage all on you, it is their problem. Honestly, that is something that we at least need to realize. The inverse likewise is true; that is, how we react…or overreact. And furthermore, attached to this reaction or overreaction is the issue of to what extent, to what degree we react or overreact. And you know, the degree to which we respond really is ours, and no one else’s problem. If we react terribly and in contravention to God’s command, then we will always be encouraging and allowing others to control our moods.
But worse, we encourage them to start a chain reaction in us if we respond in a manner that is triggered by a combination of what they did and some prevailing issue(s) that lay dormant in us. In other words, unresolved issues and problems could be sparked into volatile reaction just because we allowed the garbage man/woman to control our emotions and us. Sometimes, the inverse is also true in terms of a gentle response. Instead of it turning your tormenter’s wrath away, he/she is rather incensed. Remember Stephen when he was being stoned? The more he asked for forgiveness for his murderous persecutors, the angrier and madder they became and the more intense their shrieks, assault and torture which they meted out.
Proposed prayer: “Dear heavenly Father, I want to be like You. You have said in Your Word what to think on. Holy Spirit, please help me to think on the right things so that I don’t respond or react in the wrong way to taunts and provocations. And Lord, please help me to deal with any unresolved problems in my life before they are triggered and they in turn trigger the wrong emotions in me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Have a wonder-filled day and weekend.