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Monday, March 25, 2013

The Faith Journey #5

Welcome back to The Faith Journey. This Sunday series is about my faith walk, and the things the Lord is teaching me as I go. I hope you will join me on this journey and grow in your faith as well.

     When Perry was ten weeks old, I went to babysit for a family with twin boys. It was a nice arrangement because I could bring my son along. I quickly realized that my pay was really not enough to cover my 40 minute commute to their home. I expressed this concern to them and was told that they couldn't give me anymore at that time, but planned to in the very near future.  Trusting that they would keep their word, I continued to babysit for them. A few months passed and I noticed their hours getting a little longer, yet my pay remained the same. Still I continued to come every day. Another month went by; suddenly the parents were switching off being home to work...while I was there.  I still wasn't making enough to cover my travel, so I worked up my nerve to again approach them.  This time I suggested that maybe I should cut my days back to only when they would be out of the house. Again I was assured that a pay raise was coming and that they needed me there. To be honest, I am not sure if I was being taken advantage of or not, but at the time I sure felt like I was. I can remember gritting my teeth before walking into that house and the bitterness I was beginning to feel towards this couple.

     One day after I had been babysitting for them almost 9 months, my grandfather suffered a heart attack.  I called to let them know I wouldn’t be able to come that day. I can remember hanging up the phone completely indignant because this woman had had the nerve to tell me my grandfather would be fine and I should not leave them hanging without a sitter for the day. She had insisted that I should come there until they could find someone else to cover for me. I firmly told her, “no” and that my own family needed me. The next day my grandfather passed away. I called to tell them what had happened and let them know I wouldn't be back the rest of that week. I was stunned when she said they wouldn't need me to come back at all. I was so angry over the broken promises and the hurt pride from them letting me go, especially during such a difficult time in my life. I knew getting angry was wrong, but I allowed it to engulf me. I pouted and complained to anyone that would listen, and sadly I bad mouthed this family. As a Christian, how should I have handled this situation?

     Jesus said “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:38-48 NIV

     Turn the other cheek?  Give to the one who asks?  Love your enemies and pray for them?  Surely the Lord doesn’t really expect us to do all this.  Yes, actually He does!  Jesus realizes that we are not perfect beings; however He does expect us to strive to be perfect.  This is just another, more difficult form of service.  Check here and here for more about what we have already learned about service.

     There are those that would use us and not care that they had hurt us.  There are others that do it, not realizing they have done so, or because they have no other options.  We can’t always see the big picture, but God can.

     About a month after I was let go, I got a call from the mother of the twins. She told me that her family had to sell their lovely 4 bedroom home and move to a much smaller townhome. The business they had been trying to run had flopped and they just couldn't afford their mortgage anymore. They had taken out a large equity loan on the house to keep them afloat, and within just 3 months had spent all the money. She apologized to me for not having paid me more. She then offered me some of the toys and clothes that her boys had outgrown. She couldn't take them with her, because she just didn't have room. After visiting with her, I suddenly felt so guilty for my bitterness and badmouthing towards this family. My truck was full as I drove home with all the items she had given me, and I felt such a sense of God’s hand on the situation. Things were tough for me, but I still had my home. My husband still had a job. I was ok, always had been ok.  My point is that my being there for this family was a blessing to them for those 9 months. While I couldn’t see it at the time, I know it now. I can see the Lord's hand in it all. The truth is, had I not complained, and just gone with it, I would never have been bitter. My own greedy thoughts were getting in the way of the Lord's work.  I gave Satan a nice foothold on my heart by allowing him to enter into my thoughts.

     I still struggle with the turn the other check concept, but I know that the Lord continues to give me opportunities to respond the way He wants me to, and not the way the world expects me too. Can you relate to this struggle? What has the Lord taught you about service to those that don't love you?

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