Virtual Voices

Man’s ways, God’s ways

Faith & Inspiration

The following is a hypothetical. It could hardly be about you.

You and your parents have “history.” Some of their ways are annoying to you. You feel you are justified in taking a tone with your father at times when explaining something to him for the umpteenth time, because that’s the only thing that works. Or so you think.

You go to the Social Security or CPA’s office with him. The secretary (who happens to be a woman in your church) greets you at her desk. You cringe when your father says certain things—but you don’t interrupt to straighten him out, because you are, after all, in a business office, and so you are on your best behavior.

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So you observe the lady secretary and her interactions with your father. And she is not interacting at all the way you are practiced at, when your father rambles and says irrelevant or off-the-wall things. If it were you in control of the conversation, you would know what to do. You would know how to make him cut to the chase. You would interrupt him before he went off for a good 20 minutes down a rabbit hole. You would do this because you know how, because you have done it just this way for years and have lots of experience. Nobody knows your father like you, and no one knows how better to get anywhere with him than you.

But something curious is happening before your eyes. For the secretary, without a trace of impatience in her voice, without an edge in her voice, and without interrupting your father once, is not only not being overrun with verbiage and losing precious time, but she is actually getting somewhere. Armed with nothing more than gentleness, common courtesy, and respect, she has achieved her goal of helping your father, and in record time. That is to say, the secretary has done better than you, using kindness, than you have using exasperation. How is it possible?

And now the jig is up. Because it becomes painfully obvious that you have been fooling yourself all these years to think that your ways are better than God’s simple ways at accomplishing your desired end. And this tax season you have learned more than just about taxes or Social Security.

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again. Follow Andrée on Twitter @Andreespeterson.

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