Feb 9, 2016

Dangerous Expectations

Dear Don,

This weekend I was so looking forward to seeing you and spending time with you and being romantic with you. I was all prepared for a wonderful greeting at the door when I arrived home for the first time in three weeks. I took extra time to “primp” so I’d look and smell really good. I anticipated and pictured your smile as you swept me into your arms and held me close.

Feb 3, 2016

Responding in Kind...or Not

This morning I made the mistake of reading work email before my quiet time.

Or so I thought it was a mistake.

One email was a response to something I sent – a response that felt like the person said, “Oh yeah, you think you’re right, take THAT!” Paragraphs of information telling me why I am wrong and they are right.

My initial response was defeat: I give up! Followed by, “Who do they think they are!” and labeling them as just plain evil. Followed by how I am learning all about evil by having to deal with them, and I am going to write a blog about their evil.

I remembered all the “evil” they had done over the past several months of working with them. I so wanted to call them out on all their mistakes and wrong-doing! Angry, I wanted them to pay for what they did.

But I knew that instead, I needed to forgive them and move on.

But how?? 

I cried out to God for Scripture that would help, that would give me direction on what to do. 1 Peter 5:4 came to mind. I read the verses around it, too.

And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.
In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for
“God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen. (NLT)

Exactly the passage I needed – God knows me SO well! 

He reminded me that:
  • My main responsibility is to the people under my care – the project team and others I work with
  • Lead by example – choose God’s way of love and forgiveness over the world’s way of revenge, anger, and proving my case
  • Humble myself – I don’t need to be right, or even to win the battle
  • Others are going through similar things – it’s just how the world is
  • The enemy IS out to destroy; don’t let him succeed by responding in kind
  • God Himself will restore, support, and strengthen me

In fact, in my time with Him this morning, He already has.

Reading His word changed my focus from the problem to the Problem Solver; from the world’s ways to God’s ways. While I was upset that I even read that email because it disrupted my “quiet time”, God knew I needed to read it now so He could give me perspective before I got to work. 

He also knew I needed to spend this time with Him before responding to anyone – I tried to send an email to someone about it, and the email application logged me out. It has never done that before.

God reset my heart and attitude; He restored my peace and joy. He also restored my perspective: not ALL they did was bad - they've also done good and right things.

I am reminded of another verse from Romans 12:21.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (NIV)

Jesus, you are amazing! Thank you for Your faithfulness to give me exactly what I needed this morning when I asked for help. Thank you for leading me in Your way and restoring my soul. I choose to forgive; give me Your eyes and your heart for all the people involved. Help me to overcome evil with good.