More than a car...
My father had a friend that he met in his early 20’s. They worked together for many years and retired from the same company. They became fast and lasting friends. The level of mutual respect and loyalty ran deep; even when it came to car shopping. Sounds silly, doesn’t it?
When it came time for our family to purchase a new car, my father searched far and wide. He wanted a good deal. He wanted something safe and reliable. We went to one car lot that carried different brands. Unlike today where new car dealers seem to focus on one manufacturer, this was the 1960’s. We stood in one lot and were able to shop for any make and any model.
I was in elementary school, but my dad took my sister and I just the same. He believed everything in life was a teachable moment and offered a lesson to be learned. He mirrored how best to shop for a car and how best to deal with car salesmen. My dad was kind, but firm. He was wise, but open. He knew what he had in mind but was willing to step outside the box to consider other options.
I found a beautiful car at the end of a row and exclaimed, “Daddy! Come see!” My dad walked over and put his hand on my shoulder. He said, “Roni, if I bought that car, I’d lose a friend.” I didn’t ask any questions but continued to walk the car lot with my dad and sister. We didn’t find a new car that day; however, I learned a lesson just the same.
As we started our trip home, my dad explained to me that his close friend had been severely mistreated by the manufacturer of the car I pointed out. My dad chose to be sympathetic towards the pain his friend endured and the financial toll it took on his family. My dad knew the wounds were deep. My dad chose to stand beside his friend by boycotting the car manufacturer. Amazingly, to this day, my dad never bought that make of car.
Maybe some of us are meant to have sympathetic ears while others of us can move on despite the deep wounds of others. More and more these days, I find myself asking, “What would Jesus do?” As I faced a similar situation recently, this story came to my mind. My dad taught me an important lesson that day above and beyond how to shop for a new car. While forgiving and forgetting is very Christlike, standing up for others is equally important.
The spiritual discipline of balance moves beyond the surface to something much deeper. Jesus Christ mirrored amazing balance in how to embrace and when to let go. How to forgive and when to hold others accountable. If Jesus did it while He walked the earth, His Spirit can teach my spirit to do the same.
Whether it’s in the world of business or in our relationships, balance is the key.
“A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, But a just weight is His delight.” Proverbs 11:1