Location: New England, United States

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Is It Easier for God to Forgive?

Some years ago, I had a coworker and we developed a friendship based on our mutual Christian beliefs. She was new to our company working in a different department, but she had heard that I read the Bible and she sought me out from time to time to help with her Bible study. Eventually, she asked if I would hold a Bible study in my home as there were other coworkers who expressed the same interest, so we met in my home twice a month.

Meanwhile, I was given a promotion, and with this promotion, I became her manager. The stage was set for Satan, and strife ensued. My friend challenged me on every decision I made. Her passive resistance was evident with every direction I gave to her. Her demeanor became surly and although she continued to attend the Bible study that she had requested, she was sullen and challenging.

I went to God. "Help me! I can't take this anymore."

"Forgive her."

Days later, I went back to God with my complaints. "Help me - did you see what she did this time?"

"Forgive her." Then he pointed me to Luke 17:3-4 RSV "Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times, and says, 'I repent,' you must forgive him."

Day after day - week upon week - her challenges continued. I lost sleep and I was always on my guard; still, God told me "Forgive her as I forgive."

Finally in desperation, I went to God. "It is easy for you to forgive because you can see her heart. You know 'the why' of what she is doing. If I could just see her heart, then I can forgive as you forgive."

"Fine - you will see her heart."

That saying - be careful what you ask for - well it surely applied here. Seeing the motives behind her words and actions made the forgiveness more difficult to achieve. Green envy and black jealousy inspired my anger. Didn't she know that I have been with this company for two decades. Didn't she know that I had worked hard for my promotion and that it was a long time in coming. Why couldn't she be happy for me instead of jealous?

Finally, God told me "Forgiving her is not for her, but for you. Leave her to me, but forgive her so you will have peace within you. You cannot walk in peace without removing the strife in your soul and the only way to remove that strife is to forgive her."

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9 RSV


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