It was spring and the bright sunlight brightened up my heart. And with that gorgeous weather, how beautiful it was to attend a wedding. I met some of my lovely friends with whom I could laugh and be just “me”.
Then, suddenly I saw one woman. The moment I saw her, I felt a sharp pain in my stomach. I quickly changed my eyes from her and started looking away as if I didn’t see her. One of my best brothers in Christ was telling me something that was very inspiring for him and I was listening to him intently until I saw that woman. Then I didn’t hear him at all. I was just staring at him as if I was listening to him.
My joy and laughter faded away with that instant moment. I wanted to go home but the wedding just started. Everybody was enjoying themselves, and I was too until I saw that woman.
Who was that woman? Well, in short, that woman was a person who hurt me really bad. I didn’t wrong her in any way and there were witnesses. I knew that I was not the one who did whatever she was blaming me for. People told her that she was doing a mistake but she didn’t want to accept her mistake and insisted on attacking me. The only thing I said was “I’m so sorry if you felt this way but I guess you are making a mistake.” But it was useless at the time. I felt really embarrassed even if I was not guilty of the matter she was talking about. For a second I thought she lost her mind. I wanted to say something but told myself to be quite while others try to explain to her. I excused myself and left immediately.
And that was the last time I saw her. And to tell you the truth, I didn’t wish to see her again in my life. Even after the fact, she didn’t come to me to say “I’m sorry” or something even if people told me that she came to her senses and knew who was behind the issue she was accusing me for.
But when I knelt down to pray that day, of course I cried before God and I said “Father, I forgive so and so. Please bless her and don’t count this against her. Amen!”
Deep down in my heart, though, I was praying so that God would never let me see her again. Oh, how I wished never to see her again. Not my wish, but my nightmare has come true.
Long time had passed but the pain was in my stomach, as fresh as it happened that morning. But what was surprising for me was the disgust feeling I felt in my stomach when I saw her. Only five minutes had passed since I saw her but it felt like five hours. The burden was so heavy that I needed to go out to take air.
“My gosh” I said to myself, “I’m a minister. These people know me very well. What do they say if they know what is going inside me?” Then a voice came, in the way I know it very well that it was from my LORD and my God; the God I claim to love and live for. He said: “Get up, go and greet her.”
Then I thought God had lost His mind to tell me to do that. I wanted to remind Him what she did to me in case He forgot about it. I got so mad and emotional that I wanted to hide myself from everybody to cry my heart out. But that voice came to me again as if He didn’t see what was in my heart.
And all the Bible verses I meditated long time ago came to mind such as: “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer,- – -” (1 John 3:15)
I was arguing with myself saying “But I don’t hate her”. Are you kidding? I hated her to the point of wanting to see her end right there in that wedding. I said “I rather die than loving this woman”.
The soft voice came to me again: Get up, go and greet her. And one Bible verse came to me: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12)
Wow, that last Bible verse did it. I got up and went. And she was sitting with a person who witnessed what she did to me. She didn’t know why I was going towards her. I said, “Hello, so and so,” and kissed and hugged her. She responded back to me very well. I said hello to all who were sitting with her and went back to my seat.
I had a lump in my throat on my way back, trying to control my tears from erupting in my eyes. I felt the tears in my mouth but held it down so that it wouldn’t come in my eyes.
I wanted to follow Jesus but realized that I couldn’t follow Him if I continued to follow “me”. But I came to know that sometimes following Him hurts!
Then after five or ten minutes, uncontrollable joy overwhelmed me. I couldn’t express it but I felt like I was standing at His presence. Yes, it was a wedding, there was noise and music but for me, I felt like I was at the Holy of Holies, I thought rain of worship was falling on me. I wanted to pray in tongues, forgetting everybody.
Wow, I learned that day that I shouldn’t wait until I feel like obeying God. I have to obey Him all the time whether I feel it or not. My joy, pleasure and peace are locked up in that and I am the only one who can open it. Yes, obeying God is for my own goodness.
God ordered me to greet her not because He didn’t see what she did to me, rather He saw me, his daughter, being in bondage. And the funny thing is while I was in bondage I prayed to Him “LORD, send me anywhere. I will go and minister”. What a contradiction! How could I pray like that while I harbored hate?
May all the glory and praise be to Him alone! God helped me to come out of that darkness, that bondage. That day, when I reached home, I prayed to her but it was a prayer with a heart that was full of compassion.
For all I know she might not be mentally okay or she might be emotionally disturbed person but that is not the point. The point is whether I worship my LORD and King 24/7 or not.
Oh, if you carry grudge against someone, Precious, God finds it hard to bless you. He may use you but you and your life will be very far away from His presence and blessing. So, get up, go and greet that someone you are angry at. The freedom and joy you will experience after that will be priceless. Yes, we follow Him for our own goodness because God doesn’t gain or lose anything whether we obey or disobey Him but we lose everything if we choose to ignore His Voice and His Word.
If this message is for you, please don’t say “I will do it tomorrow”. Act today! And see the freedom that is only found in Christ. Don’t we always pray saying, “Forgive us as we forgive our debtors?” Well, here we go. Seek your forgiveness from God by forgiving others. And you will test and see “the joy of persecution” those martyrs of faith are talking about.
DARE TO OBEY HIM! ///