I remember when I was in the hospital once. I was being taken care of by some wonderful nurses, and some not-so-wonderful ones. There were two in particular that seemed to be irritated with me no matter what I did. The one told me to keep track of my urine output numbers without calling her. After all, she said rather snidely, I was a "bright girl" and could do it myself. The other seemed annoyed anytime I needed anything at all. Once my IV was red and swollen and needed to be changed. I pushed the call button and waited several times. I could hear them out in the hallway talking. Finally I went out into the hallway. There she was, ordering shoes from a catalog.
She came in to change my IV, still talking on the phone about her shoes!
I was struggling with my attitude. After all, I had come there to be taken care of, not to have to do everything myself, and definitely not to have to deal with the stress of being considered a bother.
When I was transferred to ICU, the one nurse complained as she pushed my bed toward the elevator, "They'll probably send me somebody really high-maintenance now."
"You mean someone who might ask your help when they need something?" I said, rather sarcastically.
"Yes!" she said, appreciating my empathy (she missed the sarcasm part).
God spared me more of that by putting me in the ICU, which was fantastic, but I learned something during that not-fun time. As I studied Scripture and prayed there in my hospital bed (nothing like a life-threatening illness to get your focus back on the eternal), God reminded me of a very important truth, one I'd never really completely applied before.
Everything good comes from God (James 1:17). Everything. Not only the good circumstances or when we see things working out for good. Everything that is good in the world is sourced by God Himself.
I had never applied that to people before, but there in the hospital I had time to really think through it. Anytime people do what is right and good, that is God in them. Even if they are not believers, it is the eternal concept of morality placed in their souls as they were created in the image of God (Ecclesiastes 3:11, Genesis 1:27) that is being revealed. I mean, think about it, if people really really believed in evolution, we'd all be living survival of the fittest, which means do whatever is best for yourself and eat or destroy anyone weaker.
Back to the good stuff. I learned to see people differently in that hospital. When people were acting good, that was God. When they acted selfishly, that was just themselves and to be expected, especially from those who have not committed their lives to Jesus Christ.
And I, responding to them, had a choice to make each time. Either I could continue the bad, representing myself and my own selfishness in response to theirs. Or I could respond with goodness, showing God's Spirit living within me.
Every action or response I give either shows myself or God. Every time I respond with good rather than evil, I am showing God to others.
Wow, what a beautiful responsibility. Suddenly, them acting badly wasn't about me anymore. It was about them and God. If I acted badly in response, it became a problem between them and me, and got in the way of it being between them and God. If I act in goodness, however, their problem remains between them and God alone, and my goodness helps them see that (the goodness of God leads people to repentance Romans 2:4).
So I need to stop seeing people's actions as personal. They only become personal if I respond in my self.
If I respond with good, however, I can show God to others--and avoid being irritated and stressed by them too!
Sounds like a good way to live this day!