As Christians we know exactly how to respond to the injustice in the world -- thatís easy. We know weíre to fall on our knees and bury our heads in prayer when wronged --- thatís easier. We do not retaliate when we have been harmed and hurt --- hopefully. We believe in turning the other cheek --- usually. And, when someone asks us for our coat we graciously offer them our shirt as well.
Well, some of us do anyway. Realizing that reaching four out of five goals will in no way earn me a reprieve with God or anyone else either, I hope to at least clear my conscience y confessing and exposing this one little area in my life that sometimes gets the best of me. I donít mind giving. I always have been a giver. I love to give, but when anything is taken away from me I turn bright red, clench my fists, grit my teeth and flare my nostrils while thoughts of carnage race through my mind.
To make matters worse I justify my ungodly reaction as righteous indignation while screaming, "How dare they!" Actually īscreamingī is not the correct adjective, ranting and raving and carrying on would be a more accurate description of what happens as I clearly demonstrated just last week when a thief absconded with a valuable possession.
You might be thinking that since I was robbed that there is probably some justification to my behavior and you are more than willing to find it in your heart to forgive me. Well, read on because I am about to demonstrate why I should be flogged.
My husband and I drove to our clubhouse with the intention of spending a few minutes in the whirlpool. Naturally we would shower there rather than dry ourselves and put on all our clothes to go home and get undressed again redundantly repeating the entire process, so I brought along one of those little bars of soap that you get at any hotel in any city in North America.
I place it on the soap dish in the shower unit and stepped into the steaming tub. The one other person that was already in the water climbed out and entered the shower stall. She left a few moments later. I believe that youíve already figured out the rest of this scenario, but I know you cannot even begin to envision what follows.
Picture an enraged, manic, soaking wet Christian running down the street in her bathing suit trying to overtake this little elderly lady yelling, "She took my soap! I canít believe anybody would steal a bar of soap" I was determined to catch her before she got too far and I told everyone along the way what had happened. Obviously, the explanations were necessary because I had to justify why I was running through a mobile home complex without a cover-up which is a major infraction.
I didnít know exactly what I was going to do or say when I caught her but it wad definitely not going to be pleasant for her. Fortunately, God caught up with me before I completely ruined my Christian witness that day over a 10-cent bar of soap.
I was reminded of the story in Matthew l8 where a king had forgiven a man an enormous debt and yet that same man went and hunted down someone who owed him just a little money and grabbed him by the throat and threw him in jail unmercifully.
I reflected on the enormity of sin God had forgiven me. For which Jesus Christ suffered a cruel and agonizing death on the cross and shed His blood so that I could be forgiven for my entire truckload of sin, yet I have the gall to be enraged over a bar of soap without displaying an ounce of mercy.
I went home and collected dozens of those little soaps and put them in a baggy and placed them in my car hoping to run into her again. Iím not too certain what I will say when I do but I know the Holy Spirit will give me the right words and help me display the love and forgiveness of Christ. It was only days later that my bill in a hardware store came to $13.76. I told the cashier that I would bring her the penny from the dashboard in my car. As she handed me back 24 cents she said, "Thatís what they all say. When you bring back the penny I will give you a quarter."
Instead of getting all bent out of shape and ranting and raving and carrying on, I went to my car and got all the nickels and dimes and quarters and pennies that were in the ashtray and I went back and said, "Here are some pennies for the next 159 people that come to your establishment."
My prayers are that God will help me obey Hebrews 12:14 which says, "Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" and Psalm 25:11, "For thy nameís sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great."
Copyright Donna Martonfi www.psalm40ministries.com