The pizza guy held a delivery bag too small for the requested four larges. I opened the door and smiled, “Four large pizzas, right?”
The look on his face told me the many teens in my back yard were about to be really disappointed. He said, “Ummm, well, actually there’s only two. Let me check your ticket…oh, yeah you’re supposed to have four. Give me 20 minutes and I’ll be back with the other two.”
I took the two he had and said, “Oh no problem. The kids can start on these and then have round two when you get back.”
As I walked into the kitchen Art gave me a funny look, “I thought you ordered four pizzas.”
“Yeah, the delivery guy forgot two of them but will be back in a few minutes. No big deal,” I quipped with a shoulder shrug.
Art tilted his head, “You didn’t even ask for a discount or coupons or anything?”
“Oh honey, I felt bad for the guy. It’s not a big deal to ask the kids to wait for a few minutes,” I replied with a smile.
Thinking of the way I’d reacted during a little “growth opportunity” we’d had earlier, Art said, “Wow. I’d like to have that kind of grace.”
Ouch. The point was well made. I’d gotten so aggravated with something Art had done and let him know. Why is it I’m so quick to give a gentle answer to a stranger but spew on those I love the most?
I think it’s because of accumulated impact.
This was the only time I’d ever seen the pizza guy. My emotions toward him were completely neutral. When he made a mistake, I was able to just let it go.
But I have a history with Art. We do lots of life together. If I let little aggravations collect, my emotions ratchet up creating more and more tension. Then when something happens, I find it much harder to brush it off. Accumulated aggravations…accumulated impact.
Therefore, it’s crucial I don’t collect aggravations. I’ve heard the verse many times: “Do not let the sun go down on your anger…” (Ephesians 4:26). I know it. But honestly sometimes I ignore it. I go to bed mad anyhow. I collect the aggravations because I’m too tired to talk. Or, I don’t want to deal with it. Or, I try to convince myself it’s not a big deal to go to bed mad.
But when I keep reading one more verse, Ephesians 4:27, I understand why I should deal with little aggravations when they are still little. They might not stay little long. Why? Because verse 27 finishes with a strong warning, “and do not give the devil an opportunity.”
The devil is just waiting for me to give him an opportunity. I picture him looking at me getting mad over the stupidest things hissing, “Go to bed mad…go to bed mad…oh yes go to bed mad and give me an opportunity.” That just sends shivers down my spine.
As it well should.
I love my man. I get aggravated with my man. But I love him. So, I certainly don’t want to open the door of opportunity for the devil to turn small aggravations into big ones.
So, I put down the pizza and kissed my man’s cheek. “I love you and I’m sorry I didn’t give you that kind of grace.”
To which he replied back with a big smile, “I still think we should have asked for a discount or coupons.”
Like I said, I love this man!