Matthew 5:44 (NKJV)
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
Today, I had an awful experience. We have an outreach ministering to those who have been hurt or disappointed by church, and we are required to make an hour-long round trip twice weekly to pick up and return the key for the room we use. Today was key pick up day, and we found a sign on the door saying that the department was out of town at a meeting and to contact someone in another department in cases of emergency. Well, ours was not legitimately an emergency but would have been a great inconvenience if we had to return tomorrow, so I went to seek the woman’s help. Turns out she had keys to other rooms but not the one we use. Not only that, she was very defensive about not having the key and treated me rudely and disrespectfully even though I did nothing to warrant such treatment. To her credit, she did arrange for us to have access to the building so we could get the key, but the whole incident left a sour taste in my mouth because the experience did not have to be so unpleasant.
Pastor G is bivocational. He works in a major supermarket chain and does not deserve the bad attitudes and disrespect he receives from some customers. He understood full well what I meant, but somehow that didn’t settle my anger and hurt at having been so mistreated.
I went online to destress (probably a rotten choice, but that’s what I did). Soon, I heard God’s still small voice telling me to pray for those that spitefully use me. That’s hard to do when you are feeling angry and perhaps not a little self-righteous. Yet, I know God’s ways are best, and so I share my experience and process with you.
The best I can pray for is God’s touch on the life of this woman and for Him to make His presence known to her if she doesn’t know Him. I pray she can understand how badly she treated me (and probably others) today. You know what? Praying like that changed me. I can let go of the anger and the perhaps justifiable need for an apology and leave the matter in God’s hands for Him to resolve as He sees fit. God’s system for forgiveness (because that’s what it is) surely works. All I have to do is get out of the way of my feelings and let His love and mercy and compassion take over. I know, easier said than done, but God does take up where I leave off. In this case, I had a Romans 8:28 moment with God working all things for my good.
I pray you don’t have such bad experiences, but I know you probably will. May God bring my testimony to your awareness so that you can break free from those powerful negative emotions and move forward in His love, compassion and forgiveness. Have a blessed day in Him.
copyright 2014, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved