Sure, the timely phrase ‘attending angels unaware’ is quite popular and we seem to secretly hope, wish and pray someone unique will bless our lives or at least give-us-a-break (they’d truly be an angel, huh). But how rare is it that we are in the presence of angels? While it is virtually impossible to know, this passage was handed down to us to help keep us on our toes and ever diligent that we treat others well (in keeping with “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”). But, the odds are much better that we’ll actually be in the presence of idiots. And, it is this unawareness to which we need to focus.
Disclaimer: Yes, “idiots” is a harsh word to use, but it is merely a contrasting word to help reflect a comparison to an angel who bears gifts for you. Do not miss the forest for the trees!
Hebrews 13:2 – Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Many times however, the natural progression of our daily lives exposes us to various encounters with other individuals; be it a quick stop for fuel, pop into the local store for some dinner ingredients, and even an innocent walk in the park. It is these common, ordinary, and sometimes predictable events wherein we should be more cautious. These relaxed encounters are not as high on our radar or watchful-eye for some spectacular or blessed event to occur; they are mundane, they are routine, they are pretty predictable, in fact. In these moments, we tend to drop our guard and even worse, loosen our skills and willingness to overlook annoyances, quirks, and even insulting mannerisms of those around us. It is in these idiotic circumstances when we should be more the wary. For, our reaction and reception of these toilsome moments define our character much better than the ‘kiss of an angel’ we might receive from the Heb 13:2 episode.
From people cutting you off in traffic, to a rude or condescending Help Desk Operator, even to others around you having private conversations on their mobile devices in public areas. These types of events can really cause us to steam right up and get overheated, and maybe even lash out.
CUTTING YOU OFF IN TRAFFIC
Inevitably, someone is going to cut you off in traffic. We all are in a hurry at times, so to them it seems appropriate to dive in and accomplish their mission. You however deem this a rude and insulting event, and it takes all you can muster to not lash out at them. Be careful, for this offender may well be an idiot! It is this very moment, this very opportunity to grace, for patience, and certainly for forgiveness.
RUDE “HELP DESK” OPERATOR
It’s not really the Help Desk Operator’s fault, since you had to navigate a myriad of telephone menu choices just to get to the operator. So, you are already upset, frustrated, and have quite a bit less tolerance for any further deviation from your original intended goal. Yet, the Help Desk Operator’s impatience with you is equally frustrating, for they too do not want to be there and they do this very thing ALL day long with ignorant and helpless people like you all day long, over and again. Be careful, for this offender may well be an idiot!
CELLPHONE ON THE BUS
The convenience of mobile communication devices is beginning to have a negative impact on our public lives. Too many times we are subjected to an individual’s phone conversation, but we are a captive audience since we are stuck on the bus, or a train, or even just waiting in a long line. The longer the publically private discussion continues, the angrier and more frustrated we can become with this apparent disregard for the surrounding people’s presence. Be careful, for this offender may well be an idiot!
Heb. 13: 3 actually gives us a few cues; “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” You, in fact, are just as they; a fallible human. You too, at times, are an idiot. Consider how much of them is actually you, and while you grow weary of the number of idiots around you, imagine how many times through the day that you are someone’s idiotic experience!
Matt. 5:38-48 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoevershall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Face the turmoil, the tension, and even the anguish of the idiots head-on! No, do not be forceful, contemptuous, or even vindictive. Merely accept these folks as though it is God accepting you (Golden Rule personalized; do unto others as you would have God do unto you). Being kind to kind people (angels) is easy. It is the idiots of our lives that challenge us and provide the best opportunity for growth; both for ourselves personally, but also (and even more importantly) for the idiots and any on-lookers. They are witness to an interaction that has a contrary result from the expected one (someone treats you rudely, it is easy to be rude back). In the process, God has been magnified and His presence in your life has become even more apparent.