I witnessed a gentleman shout on a group of Filipino tourists. They went to pick up one of the items displayed, meant to be used for some religious activities. Without knowing, they took the item and posed for pictures with the item. While doings that, this gentleman just came forward and started yelling at them. There were loads of people around and it was very embarrassing for these tourists – particularly because the tourists were completely ignorant of the impact of their actions and never planned to cause any offence.
After that sharp correction, the guy still didn’t stop, he kept reprimanding them in a harsh and high tone; I decided to step in and said ‘sir, they never meant any offence, they were just taking pictures with this unusual item, so I will suggest you consider that’. The next thing, he just turned to me and said, ‘don’t even get involved with things, this is not America where you think you’re all free to say and do what you like, all you Americans!’ . This man assumed I was American, and that determined his reaction towards me. (I don’t quite get why he thinks I’m American, I don’t even remotely have the accent!)
I was in the company of my husband and a couple friends and we all looked at each other in shock; after which I looked straight at the guy and said ‘another mistake there sir, I am from England and originally from Nigeria!’. All of a sudden the gentleman’s countenance changed, he became very apologetic and started saying how he really loves Nigeria, been there before, had a business there, lived there for 2 years etc. He just couldn’t stop saying good things and was now sorry and apologising to me – explaining his reason for coming down heavily on the tourists.
I looked at this gentleman and his reaction in the space of 5 minutes. I asked myself and the people in my company why it should matter where I came from. Why would he be nice to me because I am not American and hostile to me because he thought I was? The fact that this gentleman came to some conclusions without knowing too much about the persons and even the nation he feels antagonistic towards truly baffled me and gave me food for thought. His quick anger reminded me of a scripture that says
‘Do not be quick to anger, for anger sits comfortably in the lap of fools’ Ecclesiastes 7:9
The gentleman’s willingness to be angry so quickly in the presence of dozens of people surely made him look less in control, particularly when it was obvious that he had the wrong end of the stick and was reacting to his assumptions, not the reality.
He had preconceived ideas about a set of people, and that showed in his reaction irrespective of the reality of the situation. How many times have you and I made quick decisions based on an immediate feeling and never had a chance to correct it?
The gentleman was wrong in more than one assumption, many of us may get things wrong at different times too but the good Christian action to always take is to slow down and clarify matters before reacting. That’s will ensure you are reacting to the right thing and not just your assumptions; which could potentially make a fool of you or loose you valuable relationships.