Springtime, when the leaves come back to the trees, when people with allergies can’t breathe because the air seems to be 80% pollen, and all the bugs reveal that they have indeed survived the winter. It was around this time last year that I was attacked by a wasp. I was driving home with the music up and the windows down. I reach my destination turn off my car and reach to unbuckle my seatbelt. It is a motion I’ve probably done thousands of times, but this time it was different. Instead of push button, exit car it was feel something weird on the button then an intense pain in my finger.
I don’t like bugs of any kind, and for one to be in my personal sanctuary I react as anyone would in this situation and freak out! I jump out because, in my mind, the only way a wasp could be in the car is through a covert wasp nest that has gone unnoticed in my car for months. If there is one there must be a thousand more, right? It couldn’t be that she just flew into my car as I was driving around.
I am not being swarmed so I realize that it’s just a one-on-one battle: giant human me vs tiny mean stinger lady. I open all the doors hoping she’ll fly away but she doesn’t so I go on the offensive and defeat my opponent. I generally don’t like killing anything, but she drew first blood so that justifies it. Or does it?
From the wasp’s perspective she was just hanging out, minding her own business when this enormous thing almost crushes her, so she defends herself the only way she knows how by getting all bite-y and sting-y. There are times in our lives that we come across people like my wasp. We are going through life doing our normal everyday actions and someone lashes out.
When this happens, our reaction is usually to respond in kind. We think, “They yelled at me, so I better yell louder,” or, “I don’t get even I WIN!” Neither of these attitudes do more than raise our blood pressure and cause division. We have been called to bring peace into the world.
Colossians 3 says, 12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
If you should come across someone that reacts like my wasp, take a breath and try to see what they are actually reacting to. Was it you? Or was it a situation in their life that you could help bring peace to with your compassion?