Over the weekend we made an impromptu stop to pick strawberries. After riding in a car for nearly three hours, I was carsick and needed a pit stop. The strawberry patch was closing in less than an hour, but we didn’t care. It was just a quick fun stop for our daughter and fresh air to hopefully calm my symptoms.
I climbed out of the car in my “Jesus Changes Everything” t-shirt and headed to buy a bucket for $2 before entering the patch with my family.
“You will have to go to the far field if you want to find any good strawberries,” the lady selling the buckets said. “It’s about a five minute walk down the fence row. This first field is pretty picked over from today.”
Before I had a chance to respond in gratitude for the advice, another lady nearby chimed in.
“It’s awfully late in the day to show up to pick strawberries. No one should expect to find anything good now, less than an hour before closing. You should always plan to come early in the morning,” she managed to say in a semi-snarky tone before I cut her off.
I felt attacked listening to her words. I felt like she was calling me dumb for waiting until the end of the day to pick strawberries. Instantly, my need to be right shred every form of gratitude in my heart. Instead of saying thank you for the advice for future trips, I turned to her and attempted to justify our late arrival with a semi-harsh tone.
Something inside me felt wrong for doing it, so I kept digging a hole
Needing someone to vendicate my response, I turned to my husband on our walk to the strawberry patch and said, “Can you believe she just did that? Who cares if we want to pick strawberries at 10 a.m. or 4 p.m., we are still paying customers.”
“Honestly, I don’t think she works here. She was just an old lady trying to share advice,” he responded.
He didn’t vindicate my actions. Instead, he validated a lesson God recently laid on my heart.
“How you respond when someone tells you that you’re wrong says a lot about your spiritual maturity.”
And I didn’t just flunk small. I flunked standing there in my “Jesus Changes Everything” tshirt. I had let pride cause me to be anything but an ambassador for Jesus.
Shame flooded over me.
How do you respond when someone offers you advice?
Do you respond with an open mind and a heart of kindness and love, or do you allow pride to keep you closed minded and respond in defensiveness or anger?
Pride. I struggle with it daily. In doing so, I not only block my own ability to respond in a Christlike manner, but I also harm relationships with others and often miss the opportunity to grow to my full potential by learning from the advice they have to share.
1 Peter 5:5 (NIV) reminds us, “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’”