I was in sin. Period. Trapped, and I could not seem to get out of it. I had tried. Realizing I needed help, I turned to two Christian women I thought would be supportive. The first was compassionate and prayed and said she would continue to do so. She encouraged me to do the right thing and said she’d be there for me when I needed her. “Wow, this is working,” I thought. “I feel strengthened and empowered. Now, just one more call.”
However, the second woman’s response was not expected. She burst into a tirade explaining why I shouldn’t have been in sin — which I already knew. That was why I had called for help…but by the time we hung up I just wanted to crawl under the carpet. I felt humiliated and terribly ashamed. Apparently she thought she could demean, belittle and humiliate me into doing the right thing. But instead, her little talk diminished the strength and hope I’d found in the first phone call.
I cried out to the Lord; her response was wrong and mean. It was harsh. I may have been in sin — but after that phone call, so was she. Now, I had not only my sin to deal with but also the condemnation and hatefulness she just delivered. In my many years of knowing the Lord, never had He responded to me the way she did. I well remembered His word assured us it was His kindness that led us away from the wrongs we committed — not brow beating. I was indignant. So each time I thought of it I prayed, forgave, and remembered the scripture where we are told to be gentle and humble when helping others get back on track.
Two years passed and I had gone on with my life, when one day the Lord said He was “getting ready to deal with her.” I was taken by surprise and didn’t really have any understanding of what He meant, but I knew who He was referring to. A few days later I learned she had accepted a job. But after only a few weeks in the work place she was rejected by fellow employees, disciplined by her employer at every turn, made to take a lesser job to fulfill her obligation, thoroughly humiliated on almost a daily basis in a semipublic environment, and after a few months fired.
Because I was not in regular contact with her, when I was told what happened I was humbled. Fear, respect and awe for the Lord filled me. Quite a while after loosing her job, when I saw her in person, she told me what happened. Even then she still cried and felt humiliated.
It was quite a while before she was able to garner meaning from all that occurred. But finally she concluded she “beat people over the head with the Bible,” and instead God wanted her to “lovingly present His word and allow Him to do His job,” and part of His job, she explained, was drawing people into the Kingdom and enabling them to walk in His ways, and “therefore, they were not to be forced, chastised or belittled” by her.
The experience caused me to relax a little when people behave badly, and also caused me to get a better grasp on the fidelity of the Lord being the head of His church. He loves without bounds — but also corrects when we are wrong — gently if we will listen; with strength when we won’t.
Never have I known the Lord to deal sternly with people with “issues.” Because having issues is not the problem; all people have issues. The problem is arrogance and self-righteousness; apparently He takes that seriously, because those were the ones Jesus was hard on during His life and ministry on earth. With all the others He was gentle and mild. In fact, merciful and kind.
But what most ministered to me was realizing that when I experience unjust things, He takes note. He cares what happens, and although I may not see Him disciplining others as He allowed me to see it on this occasion, He does discipline — because He wants His followers to represent Him more closely. And He does it with great wisdom and in His own timing. I was allowed to witness this not so I could boast, but for my confidence in God to rise.
Now when I’m sinned against I rest easier knowing God saw it, and in His timing and way He will deal with the situation. I just have to work at keeping my own nose clean despite the injustice, because in equal equity, He expects from me a right attitude and good behavior at all times.
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The kindness of God leads you to repentance. Romans 2:4 NASB
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Galatians 6:1-3 NIV
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. Rom 12:3b NIV
The LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:12 NIV
For no one can come to Me (Jesus) unless the Father who sent Me draws them to Me. John 6:44a NLT