Four-star Army General Peter Chiarelli was in Washington for a dinner recently, and was decked out in his full dress uniform...including his striped uniform pants. In case you were wondering, he is the No. 2 ranking general in the U.S. Army, so basically he's a "pretty big deal." Valerie Jarrett who is a friend of President Obama, and former White House adviser, was also a guest at the dinner. As the general was walking by, she only saw his pants. Without looking, she asked him to get her a glass of wine mistaking him for the waiter. She was instantly mortified as she recognized her mistake, seeing his chestful of medals (see picture-they are hard to miss!). With utter class, and an incredibly humble act of grace, the General didn't say a thing, but rather walked to his seat, poured her a glass of wine and brought it back to her...he even invited her to his house for dinner.
How often do we label people, and tag them with a false identity, simply because we don't see the worth put on them by our Heavenly Father?
Do we really care about others like this General, to the detriment of our own respect, hard earned and deserved honor? In my multicultural counseling class, I have been challenged to be aware of my biases so I am able love and serve everyone with the same amount of respect and care. In Philippians 4:3, scripture backs this mandate encouraging us to "in humility consider others as better than ourselves." Do I really do this? As a future Christian counselor, this act of kindness encourageed me, and also reminded me of the book Connecting by Larry Crabb. In this book, Dr. Crabb says we often settle for too little connection and that, "to experience the joy of connection is life; to not experience it is death to our souls...." I can't help but think that in that small, poured and delivered cup of wine, from someone who chose humor and grace rather than annoyance bitterness, there was a simple life giving connection passed - replacing humiliation with a smile...I only hope that I can be such a vessel!