My boss says that people like to take out their wrath on the cashier. Wanting to get back at someone or something, customers lash out at the cashier, knowing that she cannot say a rude word back.
Throughout this summer, people have certainly taken out their wrath on me. From their opinions on taxes and prices that I don’t even make to things that are unfair in their life or the way I obviously do my job wrong, in their opinion. I listen to it all, silently, smiling if I can, trying to hold my own anger in.
That makes it hard, as you can imagine, to love everybody.
Yet as a cashier in a Thrift Store, I’ve realized, that I am in a great spot to love others. I see my job not just as the facilitator of Thrift Store purchases, but also as a giver of grace.
People come to the store, broken, disfigured, poor, addicted, angry, upset, ruined, desperate. Others come clean, happy, put together, pouring money from their pockets. But its my job, I feel, to judge each person in the same way. To give grace to every person who walks in the door. Its my job to forget the past of each customer and treat them as if I’ve never seen them before. This is grace in the Thrift Store.
I’ve been reading an eye-opening book called unChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. It illustrates what people outside the church think of Christians. And it isn’t pretty. We’re viewed as hypocritical, pushy, sheltered, anti-homosexual, too political, and judgmental. There is barely a scrape of grace or love in us from the “outsiders'” perspectives.
This book has shown me how much we, as Christians, need to be grace givers and lovers of all people.
The store has shown me what it looks like in action. It is a difficult, if not impossible task on some days. People are rude, selfish, uncaring, trashy, quick to make judgments, unthinking. Many people are not receptive, they do not understand or try to understand.
And so I come home from a long couple of days of dealing with the public and I lash out on them in the comfort of my own home, at last. How dare they? Why do they do what they do? If only they could just ____!
But I am not asking the right questions. I am judgmental. I should ask, instead: who are they? and who are they loved by? and who am I to judge?
Because the truth is, the people who hassle me all day long are children loved and created by God. And I am just the same as them. I can be all of those things I said they were and more. I am no judge. But I am loved like they are — we are all loved together — by the same God who made the heavens and the earth.
So I try, again and again and again. For the umpteenth time. I try to remember grace and forgive others and love them for who they are, forgetting what they do.
And the people who are so clean and happy may be just as broken on the inside. Because I know that I am, too. I need grace and I need love just as much as the customers.
So love everybody. That’s what I’ve learned this summer.
Forgive and give grace because we have a God who is the author of that.
Love the world. Offer grace to people, too, even if they don’t accept it.
Because this is what it means to be like Christ.