I was Cursed Going In and Blessed Coming Out

Years ago, my teen daughters and I went grocery shopping.

Upon entering the store, grocery carts were lined up by the greeter to make it easier for the shoppers. I have the hardest time getting grocery carts unstuck from one another, so I am appreciative of this gesture.

I took the first grocery cart in line. Then, my daughters and I went several feet ahead to plan our grocery shopping strategy. The plan was to divide the list three ways and spread out to get the needed items. The “divide and conquer” strategy is very effective and saves so much time, well, on normal days, this plan saves time.

“Kristen, you get these groceries, Melinda you get these, and I will pick up these and meet you at the front….”

Melinda was concerned, “Mom, people are staring at us.”

Kristen explained further, “That man over there is yelling at you, Mom.”

I thought, “Why is someone yelling at me,” as I shifted my attention from my “divide and conquer” plan.

Grocery CartA red faced furious man was yelling and pointing his finger at me, “You stole my grocery cart!”

I looked at the empty grocery cart I had, and thought, “What? Why would someone get so furious over an empty grocery cart? Plus, he could reach out and touch the next grocery cart in line where he was standing.”

The store offered free coffee, and this man just happened to park his grocery cart first in line, while he got coffee. Wouldn’t you know? The minute he turned his back to pour himself free coffee, in comes the sneaky grocery cart bandit, who runs off with his empty grocery cart.

Well, I brought the empty grocery cart back to the angry man and kindly said, “I am sorry. I had no idea this was your grocery cart.  I thought I was getting the first one in line. Is it alright for me to take this other grocery cart?”

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

The angry man was so embarrassed, as he sheepishly tried to explain why he was so angry at me. While stammering, he said, “I brought that grocery cart in here, all the way from the parking lot.”

I kindly replied, “I am so sorry. I didn’t know that. I thought it was the first one in line.”

The man, now backing away from me in shame, realized how foolish he had acted. He knew he had no excuse to behave in such an angry manner.  Anger is just one letter away from danger. Who wants to get shot over an empty grocery cart? I have heard of things like that happening.

After that incident, instead of the “divide and conquer” way of shopping, I decided my daughters and I had better stick together to do our shopping, just for that day.

Upon leaving the store, I met the nicest Christian cashier, who saw the whole episode. All of a sudden, the cashier started singing in the most beautiful soprano voice, a song blessed coming outjust for me. The song was about how much God loves me and how much God cares for me.

When I told my grocery cart story to my pastor, he said, “You were cursed going in the store and blessed coming out of the store.”

I wonder how this story would have ended if I had not used a soft answer to turn away wrath. I doubt it would have ended with a blessing. God’s Word is powerful. In this world, we are going to encounter angry people.  Unkind people are a fabric of life.

How we respond to an angry person is a choice. We can respond in one of two ways; we can either respond in the flesh or God’s way. People watch us to see how we respond.  In this case, my children were watching me, as well as many people in the store.

Do you have a story of when you used a soft answer to turn away wrath? I love hearing from you.

Linda Hoover

From Donna Evenson: Great post. I love that you call yourself the sneaky grocery cart bandit!

From Leah: Love this! Thank you for your commitment to continue. This is a much needed post!

Annette McEndarfer

Quite the played out lesson for you, your daughters and all of those around. So glad you shared.

I can’t recall anything really in public but I am visualizing my children’s faces right now going from being very angry to almost melting when I’ve spoken gently and kindly. Wish I could say I responded that way every time one of them has been angry at something but that picture is imprinted in my head of their faces changing so drastically when I’ve done it right.

Merle Reece

Thanks for sharing…It is a great reminder that I needed to hear right at this moment! “Choose Blessing (truth, peace,kindness, etc.) not cursing (harm, anger, evil, etc.)”

I wish I could say that I have chosen blessing all the time, but I am comforted to know I have asked for forgiveness for the times I have not chose to bless; Thanks for His mercy and forgiveness!

For the times I find myself or others angry, I am reminded of James who said that “You are angry because you strongly desire something you do not have and you do not ask Me and you ask with wrong motives. I must yield that strong desire to Christ. This works!

There have been many times in which a soft truthful answer has been received and a blessing, but I have also been around others who continue to rage and are filled with hate for the truth.

Jesus also encountered many who hated the Light and chose darkness instead and were filled with rage and hate for Him and His message. It is difficult to keep speaking the truth in love and Spirit to those who do not want to hear it. “Jesus said that if they hate you, it is because they hated me first…. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness.
Having said all this…I will give this example of a gospel crusade David and I had taken his grandmother to for her salvation…after the service a young man started shouting obscenities and cursings upon the crowd. Many around him began to rebuke and tried to forcefully stop him. I felt compelled to pray out loud…”Lord have mercy upon this young man…I know that you love him…heal his pain and sufferings and deliver him from the evil one. He turned around to me and became calm. The crowd stopped and started praying for him too. I am not sure what happened after we left but I prayed for his salvation and deliverance and believe that he received it that day. I thank God often that He He chooses to use a sinner such as I. For though I am righteous through the blood of the lamb, I will not get a glorified sinless body till my body dies.

Lord help me even now to speak in truth, love, and Spirit? Please pray for me and those I love to “choose blessing not cursing, life not death, good not evil”.

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