I was back at my local coffee shop for my 15 minute vacation this past week. I ordered my tall dark roast and my morning bun, paid my $4.33 and found a table to sit at and study.
The tables were full but I settled in and was looking forward to a couple of hours of hanging out with Jesus as I edited my sermon notes for Sunday.
The guy next to me coughed a couple of times towards me (invading my personal space) infecting what was left of my dark roast and then I noticed it that it was the organ donor himself (see previous column).
I couldn’t believe it that it was the same guy with the same bad cough (apparently he had not been to the doctor yet).
Needless to say it was no vacation sitting next to this guy so I got up and moved as far away as possible.
A lawyer friend of mine that lives here in town told me that I should have went and told the people at the counter that I needed another dark roast since Mr. Cough had sprayed his blessing all over mine as we vacationed together.
I was certainly not about to drink it (I have a little bit of germ freak in my DNA) but I was close to being finished and I had smuggled in a Dr. Pepper in my back pack (this coffee shop would be the perfect if it sold Dr. Pepper).
I thought when I finished my coffee I would ask for a cup of ice and enjoy my favorite soft drink (adds to the vacation experience).
Here’s my point.
Sometimes we think being right justifies our behavior. Someone even suggested I should have told the organ donor that he needed to be more sensitive to others around him.
Jesus talked about this when he said, “Some people like to clean the outside of the cup, while the inside remains dirty (Luke 11).” We could define this as hypocrisy and hypocrisy is a deal breaker (ask people why they don’t go to church).
Listen, we can’t clean fish before they are caught. We might be right but we come off as self-righteous and we are really only forcing people to behave, which only addresses the symptom and not the sickness and therefore the inside of the cup remains dirty.
People probably will not change because you embarrassed them.
I follow Jesus and Jesus was no one’s mother, so neither am I. Jesus loves that guy with the bad cough and so do I (I just don’t like him coughing on me).
Love would offer him a cough drop or ask him if he has had that cough checked out.
Love makes sacrifices and puts others first.
So we have to ask the question do we “just” love or do we love to be right?
Ken Ansell is the pastor of Community Life Church in Waxahachie.