Forgiving someone whom you feel has mistreated you or been unfair toward you is one of the most difficult pills to choke down. Actually, it’s not about forgiving them at all, it about giving up control of the situation. By forgiving them it feels like you are conceding. It is a bitter taste.
Earlier this week, I took my car to a local auto repair place because the rear window in my van wasn’t working. It worked just fine when I took my car in last week for some other repairs and when I got home; I discovered that it would not close. Naturally, I assumed that something just got disconnected while they were fixing the other electrical problem. They told me to bring it back the next day. I did. They looked for nearly an hour and found nothing that would have caused the problem. So, at their suggestion I took it back a few days later and left it with them. After two hours, they were not able to find the problem, but at my request, hot wired the motor to the window and closed it. This kind gesture cost me over $200 in labor…for a problem that I still believe they caused. The window was fine when I took it in the first time and hasn’t worked since.
I don’t believe they should have charged me for that work. They didn’t even fix the problem! Now I have a window that doesn’t work and I’m out $207.00. I expressed my displeasure in their service and told them I shouldn’t have to pay bill. As I hung up the phone after receiving the bad news, I was both angry and sad because what I really wanted was an auto repair place that I could trust to give me fair service. I placed my trust in them and got burned.
As is usual in situations like this, when I feel like I’ve been taken advantage of, I got furious with them. After speaking to them on the phone, the more I thought about it, the more I fumed. The angrier I got the more upset I became. Immediately the Holy Spirit brought to my mind Psalm 37. Several times it talks about not getting all worked up over being treated unfairly because those who do wrong to you will soon fade but God’s people will be blessed by God.
At first, I didn’t want to even listen to what God’s word said. I wanted to get even with them for causing me so much loss. It wasn’t until I literally stepped out of the house to go get my vehicle, did I start to embrace the commandment to forgive them for the wrong they did to me. I knew all along that the enemy was feeding my emotions and tempting me with doing the wrong thing (that felt SO right!)
When the time came to “face the giant” I was nice. No nasty comments about how I felt that they treated me unfairly. I didn’t even remind them that I would not be back for service, even though I probably won’t. I wanted to give them a piece of my mind and tell them what an injustice they committed against me. I wanted to throw a little temper tantrum, but, by the grace of God, I chose not to do those things.
Funny, as I drove away, I began to feel better. No more anger towards them, not even when retelling my situation to others. I had forgiven them. It still didn’t taste good, but I swallowed my pride and let go of control of the situation and the emotions. Immediately I felt better.
After picking up my car, I picked up my daughter from a friends home nearby. My friend was having a crumby day too and when I heard about her problems, I realized that Satan had been busy all day long trying to discourage both of us. I was so glad when I learned that through the power of God, we were overcoming the enemy in the battle that day.
As I look back on the whole day, I can see several times that could have gone bad had I made different choices. I wouldn’t call it a (feel) good day, but it was a victorious day because God was honored, His attributes smothered the world’s attributes.
As my friend and mentor, Alice, always says to me, “Remember the Big S!”
It’s all about giving up control…even when you think you already have.