Score: opponent – 8, me – 0
Or at least that was my count. Soon the score was 20 to nothing. Then 50 to nothing. I didn’t deserve this. I had done nothing wrong, but my manager was on the warpath.
While working in a previous job, my manager was laid off and my team was combined with another team. Our new unethical manager expected employees to falsify reporting to enhance the team stats. I questioned this practice and the reaction was harsher than expected. The manager declared me as an enemy, and from this day on, my life fell under constant stress.
My performance was the only thing preventing my termination, so my new found enemy constantly put me into positions where failure was almost impossible to avoid. And every situation was manipulated to hide my performance or take the fall for problems that occurred. To protect my job I kept records. Detailed records. Pages and pages of records. For two years I fought for my reputation. Even though I proved the manager’s allegations to be false, Human Resources dismissed the accusation, but never took action to prevent this behavior.
Why was this happening? The harder I worked, the more stress was piled on my shoulders. Shouldn’t God be delivering me? Did He not care? I determined to keep my work attitude positive. To give up would be certain termination. Two years into my dilemma, I prepared to drive to the sites I supported and lamented over my situation. In my morning devotion, I read this passage in 1st Peter, “When He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.”
God stirred my mind with this passage. In fact, I heard this passage two more times on the radio that day. Did this apply to me? Yes – according to the verses that preceded what I quoted. Jesus was my example. As I sought the Lord in prayer, He pressed these passages hard upon my soul. “But look at what this person has done,” I reasoned with God. I had done above and beyond my job but was being unjustly wronged.
This scripture continued to rebut my argument.
But look how many things they have done. Aha! Certainly the number of offenses must disqualify my responsibility to this instruction.
“This isn’t a game. The score is irrelevant,” a voice deep in my heart responded. I tried to rationalize, but then considered the score over the last two years. I had kept meticulous records, proven my case beyond a doubt, and it accomplished nothing. Why play a game I cannot win? Yet something in my nature remained more comfortable with my failing efforts than trusting God. I guess I’d prefer to crash while holding the controls rather than fly in the passenger seat.
After much wrestling, I pried the reins out of my white knuckles and said, “Lord, I’m letting go and placing my trust in you.” The rest of my internal struggle went like this:
Toss out the score sheet.
But then I have no safety net.
Exactly. Toss out the score sheet.
Then you don’t really trust Me.
I looked at my carefully crafted documentation, sniffed, and let it go.
Now pray for your enemy.
Dear, Lord. Squash them like a grape!
I’m sorry. I didn’t hear a prayer yet.
Please show them they are wrong.
Sorry, still haven’t heard anything. Try reading the sermon on the mount for a little help.
Lord, blesssss….. I can’t do it.
Looks like you’re heading back toward the desert.
Please bless them, blah blah blah.
Maybe we should review the past and look at the plethora of times I've forgiven you.
This isn’t fun, but okay.
I began praying for the Lord to forgive, bless, and give me love for my opponent. Two things happened. First, I was freed from the burden that had made my life miserable. In a moment, I no longer saw the harm, but realized my life had been shaped and forgiveness was the missing key. I learned more and grew into a deeper spiritual walk through this hardship than at any point in my life. I now count this enemy as one of my greatest mentors.
Second, the attacks renewed. But then I understood the battle behind the battle. I forgave, blessed, and grew. A year later I accepted a better position and emerged from the valley
Score: Opponent – 0. Me: blessed beyond measure.
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