In today's case, I have been putting together a volunteer-basis community newsletter for our senior mobile home park for almost nine years. We have little business-size card ads in the back for our folks, for a very small fee. This fee covers things like the paper we print on, rubber bands to roll the newsletters for delivery, etc. It supplements the small amount the park management gives for the toner and other costs for the year.
About two years ago, after getting stuck for several ads for several people, I tried taking a stand and giving a deadline - if the money wasn't there on time, I didn't run the ad.
This week, Sunday night, I called two of the folks and asked if they wanted to renew. Both said they would, and that they'd get the funds to me right away. The newsletters have now been printed, all 435 issues, six pages each, and I will be stapling them tomorrow.
Tonight I called them both again. One was nice about it. No problem.
The other one is a different matter. I called her tonight and asked her nicely whether she'd have it this week, or did she plan to do it on the weekend. Her tone became a bit short and she said she'd take care of it. I began explaining that I've done the newsletter for almost 9 years now and two years ago, I swore I wouldn't put money out for folks for their ads because I've been stuck...and that's as far as I got because she said, "You know what? I do NOT want to hear this WHOLE story. I'll get it to you tomorrow." I said, "I didn't mean to offend you but..." and she said, "Well, you DID offend me." And I began to say, "you know what, sweetheart, I should be the one offended," and then I realized she had hung up after her own remark and never heard my own sarcastic, righteously indignant remark. Perhaps it is best that she did not. (sigh)
So, I think I just answered my own question, in part. In the future, I will not advance the money for anyone. The Lord knows I am totally up against the wall as it is, money-wise, for our own household. I will give a deadline and I will not call with reminders. I will just abide by that deadline.
Meanwhile, I will have to pray, I suppose, for strength to resist the urge to give a sarcastic reply in a case such as this. I can see that I should have merely asked when she planned to stop by and not given an explanation. Maybe that was my error.
Jesus, I can recall only one example from the Bible in which you ever rose up in anger. That one time was as outrageous and blasphemous event. But you have lived among us and understand our urges and our problems. Help me, please, with enough grace to resist coming back with remarks when they will serve no earthly purpose.