Have you ever gotten suckered into one of those “try for free” scams? You know, the ones that pop up (based on whatever you have searched recently), advertising this new and perfect product that is going to fix all your trouble. And because you are so special, they are going to give it to you for free. And they are going to guarantee that you will love it. If you don’t love it, no problem, just send it back. Completely risk-free.
Then, you read the small print. And you find out that you have to pay $9.99 for your free gift. And that you have to pay the shipping fees again if you don’t like it. And that there’s a restocking fee. And that if you are one second overtime to return it, they are going to charge you the full price for this life-changing product. And, possibly, they are going to go ahead and sign you up for a subscription, and just keep charging you forever.
I have to admit, I’ve been fooled by these before. The intrigue of this new shiny thing, combined with those buzz words “guaranteed” and “risk-free” have been too tempting. I’ve learned my lesson.
Nothing is ever really guaranteed. And few, if any, things in life are risk-free.
Sometimes, I wish people came with some sort of guarantee. Or even some fine print explaining what you are really getting in to. Because people are complicated! Unpredictable and complex. Completely full of risk.
I’ve encountered a few situations this week that have left me wishing people were a little simpler, or that people at least came with some fine print explaining a few things. And, to be completely honest with you, I haven’t handled these disruptions very well. Turns out, I need some fine-print, too, because I found myself becoming more interested in being right than in maintaining healthy and open relationships. While I was stewing today over a situation, Philippians 2:14 sprang to mind – “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” Yikes! Conviction.
Honestly, with the situations on my mind today, I stand by opinions. But, first of all, neither of these situations deal with absolute truth. Rather, both have to do with personal preference and personal standards. Not worth fracturing any relationship over. Second, my initial response was far from gracious. Far, far, far from gracious. I can get defensive when I feel challenged, rather than taking a peaceful approach to the situation. And that is 100% on me. My job now is to regroup and approach these situations with a new perspective and a new attitude.
Ultimately, relationships are more important than preferences. When things aren’t a matter of absolute truth, we have to be willing to bend a little, or to at least find a way to maintain the relationship while disagreeing. Engaging with people requires us to adjust priorities, correct our mistakes, and change our perspectives. The risk is well worth it in the end, though.