First Impulse

by Aaron

Christmas is here with its lights, sounds, print ads, jolly men in red, angry shoppers, frustration, insecurity, debt, and hopefully some hope (yes I meant to use the same word twice). The “Black Friday” weekend is over and stores are happy but in trepidation that sales may not continue, Shoppers are going nuts for bargains but worry about their credit card bills, and those who haven’t shopped at all are sitting back worrying that there may not be anything left that anyone wants on their Christmas list.

How odd that a time that is meant to inspire and fill the world with hope has come to mean so little in retrospect. I am not even speaking of world changing events, I am simply referring to the difference that Christ came to make in our own hearts that should spill out into the world around us.

My wife and I were shopping in a store over the weekend and I picked something up for a friend of mine. I have my yearly Christmas cold and I was on cold medicine so I was not too steady on my feet (like when you turn your head and it takes a good two second for the world to catch up). I picked up this item (I am being secretive because this person may read this blog) and dropped it. CRASH on the floor - half fell at my feet and the other half went across the floor and landed at the feet of a store clerk.

At this point EVERYONE in the store is looking at me like I just passed gas in a crowded elevator, It is a very uncomfortable feeling if you have never experienced it.

My first impulse was to deflect, to blame, do anything so the broken item, that was so cool a moment before, didn’t cost me anything. All the words ran through my head of what I could say, “It’s your crappy packaging, it’s too slippery” or “some midget demon smacked it out of my hands” or “why do you leave stuff out for people like me to touch anyway?”

But then I thought of the right thing. I simply said, “I’m sorry. I’ll buy the way; do you have one in Orange?” I don’t know if people heard but the store seemed to flow back to its usual pace. I truly had every intention of buying the broken item because it was my responsibility; I am the one who broke it.

In Romans 7:21-24 Paul says this (about Himself) So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!

It seems that Paul dropped things in stores too.

When I am honest about ME I realize that I don’t want to do good I only want to look good. I only want to look out for myself, but God calls me to something greater even when it is as simple as paying for, and taking responsibility for, an item I broke in a chain store. The weird thing is that they let it go, they didn’t even have me pay for it even when I repeatedly told them I would (I received grace).
What an unexpected gift to receive at Christmas on Black Friday weekend. Maybe this Christmas will be more of what God intended if we all ignore our first impulse and offer more grace as well.