Megastore Mercy

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8 (NIV)

It never ceases to amaze me how God uses our everyday comings and goings to teach us about His character.  Today’s lesson?  Mercy.

I was shopping at the local megastore, a place I usually find convenient and frustrating at the same time.


My trip was going smoothly right up to the point when the cashier wished me a good day, handed me my receipt, and one final bag.


“Oh, this isn’t mine.” I said, handing her back the bag with a bottle of shampoo in it.


“It was on this side of the divider though.” she argued.


“Well, okay…” I was about to counter when the lady behind me piped up cheerfully stating that it was her shampoo.


After her affirmation, I thought the cashier would simply remove the item from my bill, refund me the extra money, and then I would happily go on my way.  I was wrong.


She handed me back the receipt, and told me I had to go to customer service to get my money back.


Now, this is an important moment when one could display God’s perfect character. To graciously take the receipt, and joyfully go stand in line with the other six souls who had also been relegated to the “cattle run” in front of the service counter.  Or better yet, tell the cashier to let it go, and give the shampoo to the kind lady free of charge.


Can I tell you I really missed the boat on this one?


Almost instantly, very ungracious thoughts exploded in my head.  I had to purse my lips together to keep every word from flying out.


In my resistant silence, I took the receipt and headed for the customer service department.


While I was standing there, fussing over what had just happened, a conversation began to brew inside my head.  Picture, if you will, the proverbial angel on one shoulder, and the devil on the other:


“Lord, help me to seek Your grace in this.” I prayed.


“Grace?  Really?” questioned my devilish side.  “The waffles are defrosting, the butter is melting, and who knows what’s happening to the pie crust!  No, no grace – JUSTICE!”


“God,” my shoulder angel piped up. “I’m no longer ignorant to Your ways, help me to respond with Your Spirit.”


“The only “way” you need,” insisted my justice seeking self, “Is to see if they have a special line set aside for customers who have been wronged through no fault of their own.  Perhaps an area with a nice, little red carpet rolled out to amend for their inconsiderate policies.”


Then my better judgement showed up, and I could hear what the Lord would say:  “What makes you so special?  Why are your needs greater than those around you?  You have lost sight of how to live out My mercy.”


The words stung me.


I had forgotten that even though the cashier had made a mistake, she was well-intentioned.  She didn’t set out to impact my day negatively, it just happened, and my poor response shamed me.


Our desire to right the wrongs done to us can make us behave very differently than our Heavenly Father expects us to.


Our daily life is filled with opportunities to practice the good He has shown us.  To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.


Why didn’t I respond in the good way?  Because at that moment I valued my time, my belongings, and my self-importance more than displaying Christ’s character.  


As Lord’s ambassadors, our behavior should reflect His good and righteous ways.  The hope filled news is that it’s not a secret as to how we should act.  God spells it out quite plainly.


Our job is to learn how to live it out everyday, of which I am very grateful for His mercy through the learning process.


Hope in Motion

  1. Read James 3:17.  It tells us that true wisdom is first of all pure, but also full of mercy.  What do you think of the promise that is made for peacemakers who sow in peace?
  2. Please tell me I’m not alone with the dueling voices in my head!  Comment below and share your story.
  3. I’ve made it my mission to start walking more humbly.  Won’t you join me, and let me know how you’re doing?


6 Replies

  1. Lori West

    Wow that just revealed my heart! I would have never considered giving the lady the shampoo and I would have had the same irritated attitude. He uses those situations to bring us to Him and what a great lesson for the rest of us. Maybe He wanted us to learn mercy, maybe He wanted us to be more giving, and maybe He took the opportunity to make us more Christlike. Simple things in our lives with great spiritual meaning and lessons!

    1. Actually, it was my husband who suggested I should have given the shampoo to the lady. That’s why he’s the better half! I’m right there with you, Lori! Thanks for a great comment.

  2. Karen Uribe

    Omg I so needed to read this! You just described me to a tea, thank you! I am going to practice mercy all day today, well knowing me for the next 5 mins 🙂

    1. I’m right there with ya Sister! Thanks for visiting today!

  3. Diane

    Convicting, really convicting. Why can’t we just get to that place right away. Oh wretched man that I am. . .but oh I thank God for His love and mercy over me. I summed it up as For this I have Jesus. At least you got there before you left the store! Looking back, giving her the shampoo free and clear would have robbed you of the bigger lesson. I am glad you didn’t.

    1. Thank you Diane for showing a different perspective on simply giving the lady the shampoo. You’re right, I would have missed the lesson. Another reason that confirms God uses our shortcomings to bring about His larger purpose. Thanks for your comments today!

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