Wednesday, February 23, 2011

4 Star General...or a Waiter?

How easily offended are you? What would you do if you had worked your whole life to achieve a certain status, even the clothes you wore screamed of your position, and someone flippantly disregarded your position? Then they treated you as if you were their servant right in front of the most influential people in your country? In that moment, how would you respond? I'm assuming if you're anything like me, a gracious response would not be the first thought you have as your face turns as red as an apple!

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!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! It is sad to say, but I do not think my initial response would have been like this 4 star General. I am sure pride, anger, frustration, and defensiveness would have been my automatic response. It is sad to think that although I am a believer, and try to love, and value others equally, I still find my self worth in what I do or have accomplished. Having been an athlete for years, my identity was so wrapped in how I performed, and what others thought of my skills on the court. Now that I am in the process of transitioning in becoming a future counselor, my prayer after reading this article, is that the Lord can continue to teach me and humble me. I pray that as I begin to help others that I can be quick to let situations like the one the General encounter to not affect me. Instead, I hope to one day be able to extend the same grace, love, compassion, and mercy that the Lord has given me time, and time again, and that this General demonstrated.


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