JMom is a very strong and faithful Christian. As such, she is one of the most kind, tolerant and compassionate people I've ever met through blogging. Last night when I was catching up on her life with three little ones, I was absolutely stunned at an encounter that she had this past weekend.
I've written on more than one occasion about my run-ins with rude people. But to be perfectly honest, I really have been placing a lot of blame on myself. Maybe I'm saying something - or doing something - that is causing an inflammatory situation? Maybe I am too outspoken and need anger management? Maybe if I was better at practicing the lessons I learn in church every week, I would be more immune and more able to control myself. Or at least, diffuse a situation by responding with love.
But then I read what happened to JMom, a southern woman, with good manners to the hilt, who is infused with the Holy Spirit. And I spent the next several hours wondering what Jesus would do in a similar situation.
In a nutshell, JMom took her children to a restaurant this past weekend. While her husband was securing their boat (they were on a lake), JMom took her children inside to get a table. This is an excerpt directly from her post,
As I was making arrangements with the seating hostess the children were playing a few feet behind me. It took less than a minute.There is no doubt this man was angry and he was out to intimidate. And from past experience, I know that I don't respond well to these types of situations.
Just as I had finished with the hostess I heard P crying behind me. As I picked him up he said, "Mama, that grown up was so mean. Why was he so mean?"
"What? What happened, buddy?" I asked.
"That mean grown up pushed me."
"A grown up pushed you?"
"Yes. He told me to move, then he pushed me. He was so mean."
I turned back towards the adults standing where the children had been playing--right in front of a brightly lit arcade game. Realizing that a 5 year old could have misinterpreted a situation, I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt and clarify the situation.
"I am sorry, did something happen with my children?" I asked.
Suddenly a tall, salt and peppery haired man stepped toward me and gruffly said, "Yeah something happened. I'll tell you what happened. These kids of yours are over here pushing all over me and I got sick of it. I told them to move and when they didn't I moved 'em."
Not sure what to say, I looked to P, still in my arms and encouraged him to apologize to this man. P was leery.
"I am scared, Mama."
After a little more prompting he apologized.
Hoping this would satisfy the man, we started to walk away until he brusquely said, "Look! They are doing it again." He was exasperated. I got nervous. At that moment I saw K, working her way between the man and the bright, flashing arcade machine again.
"I am sorry, sir. K, come here." As he huffed and puffed I felt such anger welling up in my chest. It was starting to sink in that this man pushed my child. Yet, my children were watching wide eyed as I dealt with a bully. He was over 6 feet tall and angry. And I was alone with my children.
As I gathered my little geese at my feet so we could get out of there I said, "I am sorry. They are 5. Kids do things..."
"Not if their mother knows how to control them they don't," he spewed.
I have to tell you, I really wanted to punch him in the nose at this point...but this would have likely resulted in my being pummelled. I wish I had a great story of how I loved him like Jesus, but instead I looked him right in the eye and said through gritted teeth, "I hope you have a great night."
"I will as soon as you and these punks get out of here," he replied.
Why, it's like throwing water on a grease fire.
So chances are, I would have told this bully straight up that he was a jackass. But I'm absolutely certain that would have caused a scene. Although I doubt that the man would try to hurt me in a public place because there are witnesses and I would HOPE at least someone would leap to the defense of a woman with three small children.
When I asked Charlie what he would do, he told me that he'd tell the man, "My kids aren't punks, YOU are a punk. And if you threaten me or them again, I will call the police and press charges for harrassment." Then, he said he would whip out his cell phone, and stand armed to press buttons.
A few weeks ago, we attended a sermon at church that focused on highlighting the warrior that is within all of us. The minister said that all people have it within them to fight and be a part of a cause.
God created within you the heart of warrior.
Every warrior has a cause to fight for.
A warrior without a cause to fight FOR will find the wrong thing to fight AGAINST.
There are two ways that a warrior fights: Sometimes your throw a punch. Sometimes you take a punch.
There is ... a time for war, and a time for peace. - Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8 (NLT)
I've really thought about this over the past several hours, and I don't think that Jesus would have walked away from the bully in the restaurant. But I do think that JMom handled herself very well in the situation and exercised incredible control. When a situation like that occurs, so fast, I don't think that very many of us have on our tongues, and in our hearts, the exact right words to say when you need them.
I know that calling someone names isn't the right solution.
I know that small eyes are on me, learning from my every move.
I suspect that in my lifetime, there will be times when I am faced with a difficult situation and I will react without first thinking what the RIGHT THING is to do. The RIGHT THING that will insure I am safe. The RIGHT THING that will insure my children see that I am going to protect them. The RIGHT THING that will insure this individual knows that what they are doing is unacceptable. The RIGHT THING that will insure I handle it in a manner that is ... well, pleasing to God.
So, what do you think the right thing is to do when someone goes after your children?
Do you remind the person that they were once a child and you will pray for them?
Or do you tell them to BACK OFF or you will call the police and a coroner?