Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Wednesday 26 March 2014


I was standing in a long line of people waiting to get their passports checked before departing Auckland to the USA. A man pushed into the line ahead of me. People around me sighed and muttered, but no-one did anything. This triggered my "if no-one else is willing to act, it's up to me" instinct, so I started a conversation:

Roc: Shouldn't you go to the back of the line?
Man: I'm in a hurry to get to my flight.
There are only two flights to the USA in the immediate future and AFAIK neither of them is imminent.
Roc: Which flight are you on?
Man: What's the big deal? I'm hardly going to slow you down.
Roc: But it's rude.
Man: So what do you want me to do?
Roc: I want you to move to the back of the line.
Man: You're going to have to make me.

At that point I couldn't think of anything to say or do so I let it go. It turned out that he was on my flight and it would have been unpleasant if he'd ended up sitting next to me.

I was a bit shocked by this incident, though I probably shouldn't have been. This kind of unapologetic rudeness is not something I encounter very often from strangers in face-to-face situations. I guess that means I'm fortunate. Surprisingly I felt quite calm during the conversation and only felt rage later.

Embarrassingly-much-later, it dawned on me that Jesus wants me to forgive this man. I am now making the effort to do so.


Joshua Cogliati
Thanks, i needed that story (especially the last paragraph because i am there).
What's the point of forgiving that man, when he clearly didn't show any regret on his behavior? Apparently, he didn't think what he was doing was wrong or something. And it is clear that his bullying behavior has benefited him.
That's a good question. A simple answer is it's pretty clear in the Bible that Jesus wants us to forgive other people's sin when they sin against us ... so that's what I'm beholden to do whether I understand why or not. Digging deeper, we Christians are supposed to forgive other people as a reaction to God forgiving our sins. When we decline to forgive, it's a failure to appreciate the seriousness of our own sin or the value of God's forgiveness. So it's not really about "that man" at all :-).