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Wise Words for Smart Living

Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing” (Philippians 2:4, TLB).

The police car hidden behind a tree on the side of the road pulled out as I passed. The bright flashing lights behind me told me I was caught. I had been chatting with my son while driving him to his cello lesson and was unconsciously going too fast.

I pulled over, put my hands on the steering wheel, and waited for the police officer to appear to question me and write me a ticket. All the while, I was trying to think up some kind of excuse to give him in hopes of gaining sympathy. My son even suggested that I should turn the radio to a classical music channel, in the chance that it would increase the likelihood that the officer would give me a warning instead of a ticket.

Yet, as I waited for the police officer to slowly walk from his car to mine, I wasn’t fretting over my “misfortune.” My attention had turned to the police officer. What was he experiencing? His job of hiding in his vehicle with the intention of catching people who drove too fast, to give them a ticket, probably wasn’t too rewarding! In his work, he must see a lot of unhappy faces, because no one likes being caught by a cop for speeding.

Glancing at the police officer, I noticed that he looked sluggish and expressionless. I wondered how many people to whom he had given a ticket ever thanked him or gave him a sincere smile. Realizing this, I became empathetic with this public servant who had to repeat an unwelcomed action day after day. So, I politely accepted my ticket and thanked him.

Following Paul’s admonition in his letter to the Philippians, I was able not to just think of my own affairs, but to be interested in the officer. Stepping into the other person’s shoes helped me ride out the situation and look at it from a different angle. I still needed to pay my ticket, yet I found a special joy in knowing that I might have brightened someone’s day—albeit in a small way.

Carmen Tsui is Challenger’s chief editor and also a Master Certified Coach (carmentsui.coach).

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20220405
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Oct-Dec 2022. CCMUSA.