Most of the time, they didn’t really do it on purpose. But you’d like to think they did.
The lady at the grocery check-out is not purposefully going slow to mess with you.
That driver who cut you off is just late to work: not trying to ruin your life.
The post office is not deliberately sending your precious package late.
The waiter isn’t trying to reduce his tip.
Your boss might have had a rough day: he’s not Hitler.
Your pastor isn’t preaching against you: maybe that’s God dealing with you.
I’ve heard people say, Drama follows me, but I’ve never really believed that. There’s choice, and perspective, and how you react to everything. Those things don’t sneak up on you. No one falls into a noose.
A selfish person often lives by, Me before you unless it’s just you. In other words: It’s all about me unless it goes wrong, and then it’s your fault. Then the fists come swinging. Because this time, it’s personal.
It’s easy to do this — psychology explains our brains take the quickest shortcut to make snap judgments based on the least exertion of cognitive faculties since it takes extra work to observe a situation from all dimensions. That leads to racism, revenge, bigotry, hate crime, genocide. It also means less thoughtfulness, less work to build relationships, the path of least resistance to serve the self.
I’m pretty glad that God didn’t handle us this way. I understand that I deserve punishment, wrath, hell. I understand that God’s response to our rebellion would be absolute, apocalyptic, inside-out, burst-into-flames destruction. Only the Western culture has a problem with a “wrathful God” — in every other society, they conclude God must be distant, detached, and disappointed.
What I don’t understand is that God’s definition of “taking it personally” was to send His Son for me, to wash my feet, to clothe me with his goodness, to declare me clean, to die in my place, then let me share in his victory over death. He then calls us to do the same.
If we’re going to make anything personal, we can ask how we shall serve instead of oppress. We can ask where to love instead of how to lie, steal, and manipulate. We can consider that our self-pity is not even good enough to serve ourselves.
The world isn’t out to get you. We could be out to get the world.