Written 11/6/14; revised 3/13/21
We’ve all been there.
- The crave for caffeinated fulfillment…
- The mid-afternoon coffee rush…
- The anticipation of steeped goodness igniting the day’s doldrums…
When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing how a demitasse of brewed bliss with its steamed satisfaction can affect a day’s course. Unfortunately, as this story will prove, not every pitstop can be so rewarding.
Let’s set the scene: It’s a chilly November afternoon when some colleagues and I decide to mosey down to a local Starbucks to take advantage of a ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ holiday drink special. As we approach the main entrance, we notice the coffeeshop is highly congested with a line extending outside into the brutal cold. Having experienced this location’s awkward floor plan, I guide my group to the store’s second entrance¹ and recalibrate the line as a courtesy for our fellow coffee connoisseurs.
That’s when our move is misinterpreted by an older, alternative version of “mean girls”.
“Psh…We were here first,” cried the alpha.
“Yeah, we were definitely here before you guys,” said another.
“Oh, yeah. I know. It’s just the line usually starts back here in the mornings,” I replied. “I wasn’t…”
“Well, it starts right here today! So…move aside.”
At this point, my inner Madea is activated.
These cranks are going to brew the day, I think to myself. Whoever these catty Katie’s are, they’re gonna regret bating this bulldog. A few snarky pelts later and I’m internal inches from summoning Seal Team Six, which on this day, is inspired by this modified scene from Disney’s Brink:
After all, it’s not like I’m the one spewing assumptions accusing a complete stranger as if his character could be so easily appraised. *Sigh*
But it’s at this point when something surreal begins to happen. While my flesh desperately wants to bless these women with a brick, somehow, someway I begin to cool off. Call it the frigid air offsetting my red-hot interior. Call it the still, stunned silence working its charm. Whatever the case, I realize the best foot forward is to…
Suddenly, my inner Taylor Swift starts jiving with the Spirit in the moment…
… knowing though these haters gonna hate, hate, hate and berate, berate, berate, I don’t have to deflate, deflate, deflate. Rather Christ in me, I can shake, shake, shake it off! Shake it off! And from there, perceive the situation for what it’s worth and the people around me for what they’re worth.
Consider the following verses and how they relate to this song:
“…as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:18 (ESV)
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” ~ Romans 8:18 (ESV)
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” ~ Romans 8:37 (ESV)
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)
While we can’t control the cheats of the world or the biases of our accusers, we can turn the other cheek in faith knowing our dignity, security, and identity are in Christ. Accordingly, we don’t need to prove our intentions through self-seeking agenda when we can rest in the Father’s arms (holiday expresso in hand) knowing He’s our solution and resolution in times of distress.
Think of it this way: If our dependence is aligned, not only can we trust God in confronting our humanity but also in subduing our thirst for revenge. Even when others spit in the mud in our direction, God can still use it to open our eyes to His purposes and perspectives.
Hence, why this post exists: To remind us how the slights of man can lead to sights of God we never thought possible (more on this in a future post).
As for the moral of this story, regardless if Taylor Swift had Matthew 5:39 in mind when she wrote her acclaimed hit, don’t underestimate the value of the left cheek. Especially when you feel your values are violated, keep your heart pure, ears attuned, and hands free. In this way, you can hold onto your coffee and pour out a cup of the life you have inside you simultaneously.
- Signature of a downtown Starbucks
Cover photos creds: HD Wallpapers