When it comes to pizza places, some people like to stick with the tried and true; the more worldwide locations, the better. Me, I always want to try something new, something local. And thanks to my weakness for little children selling things door-to-door, I had a coupon for a place with a stellar reputation, located not far from the office. Worth a shot.
The trouble is, “not far” meant about 20 minutes during rush hour. In the opposite direction from my house. So the pizza was pretty cold by the time we ate it. It reheated fine, and we enjoyed it, but it was definitely not worth the extra time, effort and money.
I’m the forgiving sort, though — especially when the (alleged) offending party wasn’t really to blame. I don’t want to pass judgment when there is reason to believe I did not get their “A game.” So maybe I’ll give them another shot. If I can find another coupon. Hal Hammons, famous tightwad. Remember me?
I hope people are patient with me when I am not at my best — my listeners and readers, my children, and particularly my extremely patient wife. But I don’t want to trade on that patience. I figure I owe it to them to be the best I can as often as I can, so they will be more likely to bear with me when I am not. After all, being “above reproach” or “blameless,” as is required of elder candidates in 1 Timothy 3:2, does not mean they are always innocent or even that they are never charged with sin; rather, it speaks to the character of one to whom accusations do not easily stick. If I live a “blameless” life, I am less likely to be blamed for things.
And it’s only fair that I extend the same patience to others that I hope to receive from them. Love “bears all things, believes all things,” right? If I truly love my neighbor (Leviticus 19:18) and brother (1 John 4:21), I will extend to him the benefit of the doubt — and not only when it is obvious to me that their bad days are just off days.
Ephesians 4:32 works in both directions. Patient is as patient does.