I spent a month of my time helping someone who didn't really need my help (at least not the way she represented the need). I worried over her, worked to help her, prayed for her, tried to be a friend to her. For no reason that I can fully understand at this time.
Relationships are messy and involve risk. There are times I've shied away from them because I have the innate desire to protect myself. While I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, there is a small part of me that is skeptical. So to overcome that, I take risks. I try on trust.
And sometimes I discover a treasure of a friendship I wouldn't have had otherwise.
But sometimes I don't. Sometimes I'm left with a little scrape on my heart and a question in my mind and that snide inner voice that says, "I told you so." A seeming confirmation that skepticism should remain firmly planted. Sometimes there is no treasure (or so it seems).
I can chalk it up to life's lessons. I can grow more cautious. I can grow bitter and cynical.
Or I could just forgive and go on, and find a gift in the mess . . . the gift of God's Word spoken to my heart the very day I realized my suspicions were correct after all, a gift that has allowed me to be completely free from all anger or bitterness. In this I find my treasure:
"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. . . . .
"But love your enemies, do good to them . . . Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. . . .
"Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:27 - 38).
I need the full measure, and so that's what I'm giving -- a full measure of forgiveness for the full measure I've received. The lies may have been endless, but so is His forgiveness -- a true treasure within a treasure.
I invite you to experience it today, my friend.
Thanking God for these gifts #241 - 256
He is my friend
He knows all
the courage and heart to take risks
the timing of a scripture read that He knew in advance I would need
my family's patience
I am loved
God loves all
people can change
a beautiful weekend that hinted of fall
an impromptu picnic
fun soccer practices
catching up on much-needed rest
praising Him with new insight