After a week straight of being around each other in China, and a few immature mistakes on my part, one of my coworkers seemed to be quite peeved at me.
They all knew that I had given up alcohol for this trip but it was at the company dinner, while everyone was drinking, that someone told me that this coworker was so upset with me.
I received a moment of insight. The reason I had been abstaining from alcohol was to devote myself to a job well done and set myself apart as a Christian. What I now realized was that though it is good to be blameless, it is bad to use it to build a division between myself and someone.
I picked up two Coronas and walked over to my coworker. I said something like, “I’m not sure how I’ve messed up things between us so badly. But I’d like to make it right. I’m really sorry.” I handed him the beer.
He looked down at the beer in my hand. He looked confused for a moment and said, “I thought you weren’t drinking.”
I said, “It’s worth it. I’d like to share a drink with you.” I held up my beer and we clinked bottles. He got pulled away by someone and I started to walk away. I hoped he got the message. Had I done the right thing? What will people think when they see me with this beer?
Suddenly someone saw me with that beer. This person’s eyes lit up and he yelled over to the coworker I had offended, “Ha! I told you he’d crack! You owe me $100.” My coworker had bet that I would stay true to my commitment to not drink.
I dropped my head. I could seem to do no right by this coworker.
But a few minutes later, my coworker turned to me and said. “I really appreciate what you did. Thank you for doing that.” He looked at me and nodded. It seemed, by his face, that the loss of $100 wasn’t even a consideration.
I doubt that my vow not to drink had as strong of an effect, as did braking my vow to mend this relationship. I like how God humbles my petty actions and resolutions to make way for his greater story.