Thursday, October 8, 2009
She was supposed to be a friend, a ‘joint heir’ with me in the salvation of Jesus Christ. We worshiped at the same church. How could we have gone from sharing difficult life experiences with each other to her hanging up the phone in my ear? I knew my position at work made me her supervisor but she seemed fine with it as we exchanged pleasantries. Later, when I informed her that I would need her help in another department for a short while she still seemed fine but when the time came for her to go she became angry on the phone. I tried to explain my reasoning to her but she had already made up her mind that she didn’t like this and it was my fault. She hung up the phone in my ear and with that I went from Christian to cross in 1.2 seconds.
My heart raced and my neck flushed as I marched in her direction. Half way there I thought to myself, ‘let me take a few deep breaths and calm down.’ I ducked into a side room and said a prayer, ignoring the words I could hear coming down the hall as she told coworkers how unfair I was. Inside I just wanted to go the other direction but I knew that in order to do my job I had to speak to her. I took another deep breath and walked down the hall towards her station. I stated my case calmly knowing my decision was right, I was just doing my job. I turned and walked away knowing that the words we had exchanged would forever change our relationship.
I was still thinking about that later when I opened my Bible.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 3:7-11) Oh Lord what are you telling me now? Am I suppose to reach out to her even though I was right? I don’t like this, let me look somewhere else. So I turned the page.
“Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (Oh God, you are not easy.) Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (Actions? You want me to reach out to her even though she treated me like that?) "This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us." (OK Lord, set my heart at rest.) "For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him." (Obey, mmm, so I can’t just forgive her in my heart and let it go? I actually have to obey that action command?) "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them." (1 John 3:13-24)
So this is what separates the men from the boys, love in action.