So today Charis and I were at a stop light behind a school bus. We could see that the jr high kids were goofing off and trying to get Charis' attention. Finally, one of the girls plastered herself up against the window of the back door, making sure to look me and then Charis straight in the eye and then... flipped a bird. Not really a flip, though. It was a long, drawn out are-you-seeing-this-rude-gesture-? bird. Her mouth was open as if she were screaming the insult that the middle finger symbolized.
Ha! What to do? I just looked the girl in the eye, smiled and did a little shoulder laugh. And then I looked at Charis and said, "alrighty then" and then we both looked the girl in the eye and laughed. And it was a good, long red light. You have never before seen a young girl so deflated. I'm not sure what she wanted our response to be, but clearly we didn't give it. Eventually, they all settled back down into their seats. We had a good time talking about why she may have done that and why she looked so sad when we didn't respond with shock or horror.
Oh, isn't it hard to not retaliate when wronged? To take the insult and not give it back? If only we could always laugh it off! And when we were honest about how the meanness of others affects us, we had this familiar conversation that is almost now like our own little catechism:
Whose opinion of me matters?
What does God think of me?
He takes great delight in me.