The Law of the Garbage Truck
Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven …. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?"1
Mike Benson asks, "How often do you let other people's nonsense change your mood?
"Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? The mark of a successful [mature] person is how quickly he/she can get back his/her focus on what's important.
"I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car's back end by just inches! The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and started yelling bad words at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly.
"So, I said, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital.' And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.' He said, 'Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on.'
"I started thinking, how often do I let garbage trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, 'I'm not going to do it anymore.'"2
However, as many of us know, that's easier said than done. When we overreact to people who "dump their garbage" on us, we need to realize that what the other person does is his or her problem—but to the degree that we overreact that is our problem. To react in a Christ-like manner, it is imperative that we resolve our "garbage." If we don't, we will be forever allowing others to control our moods and trigger our unresolved problems. For help in "Taming Your Anger [garbage]" go to: http://tinyurl.com/b439f
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to recognize whenever I overreact to what others do to me and to resolve my problem so that I will, with Your help, always respond to others (no matter what they do) in a loving and Christ-like manner. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Matthew 5:43-44; 46-47 (NIV).
2. Mike Benson, KneEmail. To subscribe, send a blank email to: firstname.lastname@example.org