“No! You’re going to stay there until I get home! It’s not MY FAULT you guys didn’t deliver oil to me on time!”
I actually said those words out loud, in real life to the man who called me last Thursday night to tell me that he was about to leave my house without delivering our oil because no one was home. It looks even worse in print than it sounded when I said it.
Let me back up. Last Thursday I arrived at the church to find that, yet again, our heat wasn’t working. It was 45 degrees in my office. I was in my shorts as I typically work for about an hour and a half and then head out to the gym. I was cold and ticked off because this was about the eight thousandth time we haven’t had heat at the church this winter.
The repair guy for the heat called me to let me know that he was at the church just as I was leaving my kids school. But I didn’t recognize the number, so I didn’t pick up. He left a voicemail. I flew to the church as fast as I could and then waited for a couple of hours while he worked on the problem.
We left for CrossFit. I forgot about the meeting I was supposed to go to after I dropped the kids off at the gym. We went home, knowing that I was going to have a short window before I had to turn around and head back out to worship practice. It was 50 degrees in my house. I checked the oil gauge, and sure enough we were out of oil. I called the oil company and waited for 30 minutes for them to call me back and heard nothing. I called back and waited again. Finally they called back and said someone would come out by around 9:00.
Rita left to go to a dinner she had been invited to. I took the kids with me to the church (again, as they reminded me) for worship practice. At about 8:30 I noticed the phone ringing and picked it up. The conversation quickly escalated. He told me he didn’t have a lot of time to wait for me to get home. I told him I’d be home in 10 minutes. He told me that was about all he could wait before he was going to leave. My head might have spun around as I stormed out of the church, phone to my ear, yelling at the guy on the other end the very words I wrote at the top of the post.
I grabbed my kids and drove way too fast all the way home. I was enraged. I was offended. I was ready to vent my spleen on the oil guy because he had been so rude to me. I was indignant that he was going to leave the house and let us spend the night getting quickly colder in our house. And then it hit me.
YOU ARE A COLOSSAL JERK.
I mean it hit me like a ton of bricks. This guy has been pulled out from his family, is sitting in his truck at my house listening to my dog bark incessantly at him, trying to call my phone to find out if anyone is home, and I’m going to take out all the frustration from my day on him? And in those moments as I flew home in the car, I felt like God put up a mirror to my heart and showed how selfish, arrogant, and ungracious I can be at times. And I thought I could get away with it because I was mad, and I’d had a bad day, and the oil guy was just some nameless, faceless voice on the phone telling me something I didn’t want to hear.
But Jesus demands something different from me. He has never given me what I deserved. Instead he has unleashed his grace in my heart, covering every one of my sins and continually forgiving even my most grievous offenses – the tiniest of which are far worse than what I had just endured. And there it was again. I love grace when I receive it. I’m not so good at loving grace when I have to give it.
So by the time I got home I was ready to not only apologize to the oil guy, but also to take a few moments to repent of my sin, which was not against the oil guy, but against God and his grace in my life. I can only hope that the next time grace comes out of my mouth before judgment.