Not to sound like a country song, but somebody done did me wrong recently.
And I was steaming inside.
I tried my best to stay calm and look unconcerned during the event, although I think I failed. I’m a personally confessed EEP, and I’m afraid I can’t hide my feelings well.
After the event was over, I regaled my husband for an hour about how mad I was. It went a little like this:
“How dare they touch MY stuff!”
“How dare they SHOVE my personal belongings aside!”
“Do I grab THEIR stuff without asking?”
“How dare they order ME around!”
“Who do they think THEY are?”
“They’re not the boss of ME! We’re CO-workers!”
“They better keep their HANDS OFF!”
“I’m NOT some peon who’ll meekly do whatever I’m told.”
“They’ve got another THINK coming.”
“What am I? Chopped liver?!”
As you might have guessed, God’s not finished with me yet. And (more obviously) you can see exactly how well I’d do on the mission field.
As my anger smoldered inside, I fanned the flames by recounting (again) to my husband how angry I was. God bless him, he chanced my wrath (and it WAS wrath at that point) by offering another view of the encounter. Incensed, I stormed off.
Later, I told my story to Mom. Although she smiled and nodded along at my frustration, I could see she thought I was a little…off.
After I was done, I took a breath and began to count out my options.
I could talk to the person and make it clear I was not some doormat to be stomped on.
I could say, “Please don’t order me around like that. You’re not in charge of me.”
I could go to the person’s supervisor and make an anonymous complaint.
Mom nodded, and then said, “You know, that would just create more work for that person, and you’ve said before how he doesn’t have time to spare. You could…”
“You could just let it go. You know, forgive him, and move on.”
What?! Why had I just wasted all my time telling my story if she was going to offer a SPIRITUAL solution? I mean, really.
I thought about it for a minute. Mom’s pretty smart and eons more spiritually advanced than yours truly. Plus, I’d (just that morning, in fact) asked the Holy Spirit to convict me when I screwed up.
And it was sounding like I was about to.
I made some noises about going to the person’s supervisor. But by the time I drove home and got ready for bed, I realized the Holy Spirit was working.
Again, I don’t physically HEAR the Holy Spirit’s voice, but the conversation went a little like this:
“Didn’t you just the other day post about how amazing forgiveness made you feel?”
“Well, yeah, but that was for ME.”
“Right, but not for other people?”
“Well, I guess. It’s just - he was rude to me, Holy Spirit. Rude! He told me what to do; he flung my belongings to the side. What if I’d had something breakable in my bag, Holy Spirit? What then?!”
Silence from the Holy Spirit for me to realize how stupid that previous comment sounded.
The realization dawned on me. I had been forgiven my 10,000 talent debt and then turned around to demand my 1 talent from someone else.
I was my own sermon illustration.
I was embarrassed. “Will I ever learn, Lord?” I muttered.
This morning, I tentatively asked the Holy Spirit again to convict me when I begin to give in to sin.
He’s doing a great job. I can’t turn around without being faced with the implications of what I say or do or even with what I don’t say or do.
The other thing I’ve been praying for recently is that I will be made aware of how much my forgiveness cost. I’ve been pleading that the life, death, and resurrection of Christ would be made real to me.
I found myself humbled when I thought of the many “How dare THEY!” statements Christ could have righteously made during His years on earth. And yet…He went humbly to a cross to die for me and my selfish sin.
My prayer has been answered for today. I found myself crying at the thought of Christ dying for me and my “How dare THEY!” attitude.
How dare I! How dare I! After all Christ has done for me. Another reminder of how I am indeed, a flawed person.
Flawed, but amazingly…forgiven. Yet again.