Learning at the Drive Thru

Chances are good that you’ve seen this video but if you haven’t, it’s worth a couple minutes of your time. In it a man named Adam Smith videotapes his interaction with a Chick-fil-A employee named Rachel who was working the drive thru on the much publicized Support Chick-fil-A day on August 1. Rachel’s graciousness under fire and her lack of defensiveness when being attacked is a good starting point for discussing how we react in similar situations.

I don’t know if Rachel is a Christian or not but at a minimum her response models the kind of change the gospel can bring in a person’s life. The natural response, at least my natural response, to criticism is to attack, blame, deflect, and defend, all done to take the spotlight off of me and my behavior.

If I can attack others for something they’ve done, I can shift the focus away from me. And maybe they’ll think twice before confronting me again.

It might look like I’ve done something wrong but really it’s your fault. You are the one to blame because if you hadn’t ________, then I wouldn’t have ________.

Deflection works best on smaller issues. It involves subtly explaining that what I did wasn’t the true me. I was tired. The kids were loud. Work is stressful. If deflection is successful, you will end up feeling sorry for me and wondering how I handle everything so well given my hard life.

These strategies are just some of the many ways we defend ourselves, our actions, and our reputations. The defense system is designed to keep us from having to consider our behavior, admit we’ve done wrong, and seek forgiveness and reconciliation where necessary.

The gospel, the good news that I’m accepted by God because of what he has done for me in Christ, changes how I respond to my sin being exposed.

Instead of attacking, I can listen and be open to the possibility that I really blew it. Every time someone points out something wrong in your life it doesn’t mean that they are right. But it does mean that you should humbly and prayerfully consider whether or not they’ve identified something that God wants you deal with.  I find that more often than not, they’re right.

Instead of blaming others for their part, I can focus on what I’ve done.

Instead of deflecting, the gospel allows me to take responsibilities for my actions. As the CCEF crew has pointed out, difficult circumstances don’t cause behavior but merely reveal who I really am inside.

Rachel’s reaction to the customer’s attacks reflects well on herself, her employer, her parents, and if she’s a Christian, on her Savior. When we stop defending ourselves and start owning up to our sin and it’s consequences, we do the same.

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