I believe that love and forgiveness work hand in hand. I seem to be thinking about this a lot lately. Our Pastor has been teaching on it too and it is all timely.
I was at a conference recently and I saw a couple there who I have known for a really really long time. He used to work for my dad as his accountant. He didn't pay the GST(tax) for a LONG time and what happened to the money for the GST no one knows..............it ended up causing my dad's business to crumble and not only did the business close but we personally almost lost everything as well. It was a brutal time. It aged my dad. I remember seeing the man that did this and hating him. I wanted to run up to him and punch him.
Not long after all this happened this man became a pastor and started his own church. I couldn't believe it. I had a hard time not judging him. Before he worked for my dad he was caught embezzling money from a major grocery store. My dad was warned not to hire him. My dad is a really good example of giving second chances. This time though he should have heeded that warning. Whenever I heard that his little church was struggling financially over the years.......I snickered.........I had thoughts like........well of course they are struggling..........don't they know WHO is in charge???.........I would roll my eyes and spew unspoken judgments at this man...........who always smiled at me and said hello........
So when I saw him at this conference I was overwhelmed with so many emotions as usual and one of them was even pride!!! yup pride thoughts like........look at me.....I am a somebody.....I am on the prayer ministry team........brutal eh?! and then as I was looking at him God spoke to me. He said " you want and pray for financial freedom and yet you have not forgiven this man for financially hurting your family? you want freedom? you need to forgive!"..........wowser.......that hit home and I knew it was time, time to forgive, walk in love and let it go. I have worked through this and have forgiven him now. It is something you have to choose to do. You may not "feel" it but when you continue to say I choose to forgive ...... eventually you feel something softening within you and before too long it is gone.
Yesterday J had a life lesson in this as well. He did a job for a guy that he wasn't so sure about. He was second guessing himself on trusting that he should do the work for this guy, he just wasn't sure about this man's character. He usually has really good instincts about people and when you are self employed this is HUGE. He did the job anyways mostly because he was going to California and he wanted to make sure he had work lined up for his 2 guys. I think there might be some false responsibility there on his feeling he has to "carry" people but that is another post!
The guys did the job and J said they did an amazing job. The retaining wall is gorgeous. Neighbors were admiring it. The moment J got home the home owner started complaining about the workmanship and adding things on to the job. The price dickering started and before he knew it J was doing extra's for this guy and he was only going to get paid $400......for the whole thing! he already took a cut with the guy and agreed on $1200 for the retaining wall that required a full weeks work for 2 guys!!! that only covers the guys wages and not material or profit........so we were already loosing...........then it went down to $400 but at this point J just wanted to get something from this guy. He went there yesterday, the 3 of them starting working and this guy was out there critizing their every move. Finally the man told them to stop working and get off his property. He wasn't going to pay J a cent.........not a cent. J told him I am going to take the retaining wall out then and made a step for the wall........the man freaked out and said I am going to call the police.......he ran inside called the cops and ran back outside and told J that he told the cops that J assaulted him...........great eh?!! so J knew he had to stick around so that he could tell the cops he hadn't even raised his voice to the guy.........all the meanwhile J said in his head he could hear our Pastor saying "love your neighbor" "forgive those who mistreat you"...........it kept him calm............the cops realized that J was innocent.........who waits for the cops when you are guilty??!!
they told him if he did pull the retaining wall out that J would be charged with mischief......they said take a civil suit against him or take him to small claims court............J left..............feeling down and discouraged and I think mad at himself for not trusting his initial instincts. He was still struggling with what to do and what, if any, action he should take against this man......later on at home he decided to write him a letter telling him he forgives him!
Meanwhile in Lala land I had a friend email me telling me I had hurt her. I lost her confidence in me............this all has to do with the pandora's box I referred to a couple of posts ago. I called J asking what I should say............he said "I don't need any more drama right now........keep me out of it"...........so I did........I responded with love and made sure my response wasn't hurtful. I was able to take this opportunity to share with her how I was feeling about the issues I was struggling with....sorry to be so vague but I have too.............and I sent the message.....praying that it would all work out.......I received a response and it was received in love..........so it's all good. I was able to apologize for hurting her and was able to stand my ground and draw that line in the sand that I needed too.
Last night our Pastor called J about what happened at work. J got choked up on the phone telling him how his preaching is getting through.........I am amazed at the growth I see in J.
It really is better to forgive and walk in love, even when you are being wronged, there is justice and mercy and we choose mercy and let God be our Justifier. There is just so much power in love and forgiveness, it brings freedom!!!