I haven’t written in a while, just no time, but I’ve learned something that is worth writing about! On Sunday, our pastor preached the most outstanding sermon on loving your enemies and he left us with a challenge to remind ourselves of 3 simple words when conflict arises with other people…
The phrase… “Now’s my chance…” My chance to love…to show mercy and grace…to be kind, instead of condemning, forgiving instead of judgmental or critical… and wow, the results have been cool.
Without giving too many details, there has been a person in my life who has been causing me SO much turmoil, mainly because it involves one of my children (mama bear on the loose!)… But I decided to live out “Now’s my chance” and I’ve reached out with encouragement and kindness, instead of pouring verbal acid all over the person, like I wanted to do. And the coolest thing, the person has responded back with kindness and encouragement.
And then just this morning, I received a threatening message from the State Revenue department claiming that I had not filed or paid my sales tax since September of last year… NOT… I have a cleared check to prove I did… I even talked to this person 10 days ago about the very same thing and still he left me a message threatening me with legal action.
I was furious… But I took a deep breath, whispered the words, “Now’s my chance,” and called him back. I expressed my frustration, but not in anger, just very matter of fact… I reminded him that I’ve consistently worked with him… I’ve never avoided his calls… I’ve worked diligently to make sure everything is current and accurate… And I told him that I didn’t think it was fair for him to leave me threatening messages.
Sure enough, as he looked into it, he could tell me every month and what I had paid for that month and by the end of the conversation he apologized and admitted that he should have looked into it, before he called me.
In both situations, I had every right to be angry, to even blast the person for their actions… But I’ve been challenged by our sermons the last two weeks to set aside my rights and just love the person who is infringing on my rights. I won’t say it’s easy… I think if I’m really honest, I want the person to pay who’s hurting me…frustrating me…whatever… But as we approach Easter, how can I not remember that over 2000 years ago, my Heavenly Father chose not to make me pay a debt that was greater than I could ever hope to repay… Instead, He had His Son pay it for me and today I am forgiven and debt free because of that grace and love and mercy… How can I even think of not offering that to those who hurt me?!
And interestingly, the more I practice, “Now’s my chance,” (I have a TON of opportunities in just 2 days!) the easier it gets… I love the results of reconciled relationships… They are far sweeter than anger, anxiety and unforgiveness.