Blessed are they that budge

img_6920.jpgBlessed are they that budge for they shall be first in line.

If that’s not a North African proverb, it should be. Some days instead of the one being budged, I want to be the one budging. Let them see how it feels for once.

But I know that’s a selfish attitude. So the question lingers: How exactly do I cope in such a pushy culture?

For example, standing in line at a shop today, the owner served the 5 pushy people behind me before he fetched what I asked for. Then I stood with my money on the counter while he served the next 10 pushy people behind me.

It wasn’t until I said, “Take this, sir!” that he turned to me and apologized. I wasn’t even tempted to give him the customary, “No problem.” My inflamed temper wanted to clear the crowd at the counter with a giant push and then hurl my unpurchased items at the shop owner. I could even envision myself stomping out, bellowing that I would never return.

How should I have acted? Really, the question is: How should I act? This isn’t a one time occurrence but a constant cultural barrier for me. In my 9 months here, I have met few truly courteous strangers; most courtesy turns out to be greediness in disguise.

This is one of the only things in this culture of which I cannot even glimpse a bright side. So, practically speaking, what should I do? Hang around a shop until the owner notices and takes pity on me? Disobey God’s command to love others as myself and begin pushing like everyone else?

Well, maybe my first step is to stop gritting my teeth when people infringe on my right to be served before them.

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2 comments

  1. >>This isn’t a one time occurrence but a constant cultural barrier for me.

    Hi Tricia. Is your constant trial a cultural barrier or a moral one? I think the latter.

    >>In my 9 months here, I have met few truly courteous strangers

    Courtesy is a moral value. Discourtesy is a moral problem. So what you face,
    in this case, is not the difficulty of adjusting to a foreign culture, but the trial
    of bearing your neighbors’ sins. That’s how I would look at it.

    In other words, you are bearing the people’s sins in order to reach them
    for Christ Jesus. In that sense, you bear a cross for their salvation.

    In that sense, you are a follower of Jesus and united to Him in His work
    of redemption.

    “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree….” 1 Peter 2:24

    Grace and strength to you in your mission efforts.

    • Thank you, Kevin, for your insight. It’s true. The strangest thing for me is that the culture is warm and friendly, but not with strangers. In public, it’s “every man for himself”. But after I develop some sort of intimacy (especially in their homes), they bend over backwards to serve me. You’re right that it is a moral problem because it’s not loving others as ourselves. It’s honoring others when you have a reason or motivation to. That is not the same!

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