"Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us."
~ Matthew 6:12 (GNT)
Bullying, manipulation, and thievery…. oh my!
Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in a situation that seems ideal… All we can think is, clearly this is a gift from God Himself.
Then, all of a sudden it takes a turn that smacks of bullying.
You run the details past a few of your wise women counselors to be sure you don’t have the wrong end of the stick.
(Just to be clear, this was a business alliance, romantic relationships are a whole other kettle of fish.)
At this point, I’m wondering…. schemes of the enemy, perhaps?
So, I took some time to breathe and heal a bit expecting when we circled back ‘round this person would take responsibility, maybe even apologize.
Instead, I encountered self-righteousness.
Still, I tried with all I had to set aside hurt and seek peace, to love big enough to get through anything.
It didn't help.
I do not believe God ever calls us to be a doormat. So, while, yes, it’s important to extend grace and space, it’s also important to stand up for ourselves and what we believe to be right.
When I tried to come to some sort of terms, I was blocked on social media and ignored elsewhere.
Given that I was still owed hundreds and hundreds of dollars in services, I think it’s fair to say I was hurt and angry.
I had traveled the road from “This is amazing and ideal, what a gift from God!” to “What on earth?!?!” with this person.
When someone treats you abysmally, it can leave you confused, among other things. When someone steals from you, it’s a violation of trust.
In those moments, it can seem little comfort that God will judge us all in the end.
On the other hand, if it's possible to see all things as either coming from God, or as an opportunity to draw nearer to Him, then what?
After going through the very human process of repeatedly drafting my scathing letter to the Better Business Bureau in my mind, I sat down to consult scripture.
How often do we want to kick ourselves when we don’t turn there first?
At any rate, I found myself face to face with Zaccheus.
"Zaccheus was a wee little man..." :) and, a tax collector. A despised, loathsome tax collector. Those of that occupation were seen as sinful and greedy and despicable.
Aren’t we all Zaccheus sometimes?
Yet, he yearned to know his Savior, so much that he was willing to climb a tree to see what there was to see... to get the message worth getting.
I had been trying hard to pray God’s grace and mercy over this person, her business, and her loved ones…. kinda taking a fake it ‘till you make it tack.
But, truly, what a sweet Father we have. One reach for one piece of scriptural wisdom and He plants true compassion in the heart.
Does part of me still want to DO something? Sure. But, the battle is not mine. I seem to recall something about vengeance being His.
I had a choice to make, would I be willing to make the effort to climb the tree to know a life of forgiveness?
I'm not saying I don't have to choose it again from time to time when human nature gets the better of me. But, it's the choice I do make.
And, here’s the reality. It’s all God’s anyway. He is Jehova Jireh, the great provider. Maybe this person stole from me, but He will take care of our every need, and until she makes it right with Him, she’ll have to live with herself.
Again, whom among us hasn’t been Zaccheus at some point in our lives? And, thank God that Jesus reaches for us up in the tree and says, come down, I want to come into your home and heart and walk through the minutiae of life with you.
Haven’t we all been the thief… of someone’s time, of someone’s joy, of someone’s something at one point or another?
Thank God for Zaccheus. Thank God for the grace and mercy of the Savior.
May she be blessed with wisdom and grace. May she and her loved ones know the Truth, Love, Light, Grace, and Mercy only granted through the gifts that come from defiance of the grave.
May we all. Thank You, Father, for helping us to be most excellent at forgiveness and walking in Your grace.
I forgive her... I release her... I bless her... and, I thank God for His willingness to do the same for me.
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." ~ Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)
"You, Lord, are all I have, and You give me all I need; my future is in Your Hands. How wonderful are Your gifts to me; how good they are! I praise the Lord, because He guides me, and in the night my conscience warns me. I am always aware of the Lord's presence; He is near, and nothing can shake me. And so I am thankful and glad, and I feel completely secure, because you protect me... You will show me the path that leads to life; Your presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure forever.'" ~ Psalms 16:11 (GNT - excerpts)
"Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God toward you in Christ Jesus." ~ Thessalonians 5:18 (BLB)
I was just flipping through an old book and found a note I took in the margin. I leave you with these words... "If we can take things on God's terms rather than our own, it is a deeply blessed way to journey through life."
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise. ♥