The college years should also be known as the broke years. I waitressed and attended classes full time, and money always seemed to be a scarce commodity in my life. One semester, I took a black and white photography class. Little did I know how much photography equipment cost!
I used every dime I had to purchase the materials that I needed.
During class, my photography professor announced that she would be holding a workshop for those of us who wanted additional instruction. The cost of the workshop would be $12. I opened my wallet and noticed that I had exactly $12 to my name. Of course, I would have to skip lunch for a few days and beg some rice and beans from my restaurant manager before work, but it would be worth it!
Although the money wasn’t due for another month, I decided to pay her the cash early. My professor hurriedly took my money without writing my name down and said she needed to run off to lunch. A few days later, I discovered that I had a conflicting engagement and I would not be able to make the workshop. Before the next class, I explained to the professor that I wouldn’t be able to attend. She looked at me, confused. Then I asked if she wouldn’t mind refunding my money.
Sadly, she had been so rushed during our exchange that she completely forgot that I had signed up and given her money. Since she wrote nothing down, there was no proof. Even if I had wanted to attend, there was no record that I had paid the fee!
I tried to recharge her memory.
I described how she had been rushing out to lunch when I gave her the $12, and that she had put the money in her wallet. But she insisted that our exchange never happened. What could I do? My $12 seemed like a fortune to me, but I couldn’t emphasize a memory to my professor that she obviously didn’t care to keep.
This incident taught me a valuable lesson. I always want to give people the benefit of the doubt. I don’t want to be so self-assured in how I see things that I’m unable to hear others out, especially those who look up to me. I can wisely decipher whether I’m speaking a truth of the Holy Spirit or if my own pride is demanding to be right. No matter what, I can still receive and respect the opinions of others. I realize that I will never be perfect, so I can partner my opinion with five valuable words: “…but I may be wrong.”
Humility will always lead to honor, so there is no need to prove myself (Proverbs 18.12). The truth will come out eventually, and I never want lose my integrity over $12.
Questions: Have you have been so sure you were right only to find out that you were dead wrong? Did you wish you would have left some room for error? How can you better show your respect for another person’s point of view without compromising your values?
“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open” (Luke 8.17 NIV).
* This post was published for the Internet Cafe Devotions.