Yesterday, between our first and second services, I went looking for my two grandkids. I’d seen them from a distance before first service started, but didn’t get to give them a hug. I knew they’d be leaving shortly and was determined to give those hugs before they did.
I was on a mission as I trudged from the worship center toward the area where our children’s ministry happens. As I rounded a corner, I heard somebody behind me say, “Hey, you, come back here!” I turned and there was Billie Le Vrier, one of the nicest ladies in our church. She was serving as a greeter at one of our back entrances. I was so preoccupied with finding my grandkids that I walked past her without even seeing her or, obviously, saying hello.
I stopped, turned around, and greeted and hugged Billie, stammering a feeble explanation as to why I walked by her without speaking. Thankfully, just at that moment, Alexis, my two-year-old granddaughter, came charging down the hall and leaped into my arms. I turned to Billie as a big wet kiss was planted on my cheek and said, “This is what I was thinking about when I walked by you.” She laughed and understood. Billie’s a grandparent, too.
Later, I reflected on that moment and thought about how easy it is to do something that could be misinterpreted. I would never intentionally snub Billie; she’s a dear friend and faithful servant at PCC who’s done nothing but encourage me. But I have to admit that any eyewitness to that moment would have judged me to have treated her rudely.
What did I learn? Always to give people the benefit of the doubt. When someone doesn’t wave or speak or acknowledge me the way I expect them to, I need to refrain from taking offense and just assume it was an innocent oversight. Far too many people get huffy over words and actions that contain no malice whatsoever.
I can’t help wondering how many currently injured feelings are the result of a small, completely innocent oversight that was blown out of proportion.