There is this person who has a position of authority over me.
This person on many, many levels is not fit to be a leader, does more damage than good, and is far too immature to have the responsibilities he has. While this is my personal opinion, it is also the opinion of the majority of the other people under his authority. Watching this man ruin so much good is heartbreaking and frustrating.
Recently something happened where he could have failed colossally. It would have been public and embarrassing for him and it would have felt great to see it happen. I know that is not a Christ-like behavior, but it’s the truth. The ugly truth. The problem with letting him fail was that it would also hurt a good friend of mine who would be caught in the cross hairs and didn’t deserve more pain than she has already endured this year. I went back and forth for weeks with this struggle: the desire to let this man fail in front of so many people, and my desire to not hurt others.
Finally I decided to let him fail. I needed to let him fail. It would feel so good.
The morning of the impending failure during my quiet time, God broke my heart hard and fast. He was speaking to me loud and clear that I needed to put my pride aside and submit. He told me in so many words that once again, this isn’t about me and I need to get over myself. I heard him only after weeks of fighting and ignoring him completely.
But I couldn’t ignore him any longer. (That’s the thing about God: you think you can ignore him, but really he’ll just find another louder, more obvious way to get our attention. He doesn’t forget about it like I sometimes hope he does.) So with very little time to make things right, I put my pride aside and offered to help someone I greatly disliked and really wanted to see fail.
I pretended my way through the day, acting like everything was fine so that someone I love didn’t get hurt. The good news is it didn’t break me. It didn’t kill me to shut up and serve. I helped someone succeed that I despise because it was the right thing to do.
What I keep repeating to myself: it did not break me, it did not break me.
But it didn’t feel warm and fuzzy either. It annoyed me to have to be nice and was almost physically painful to see this person succeed (and then, by the way, take credit for all the success.) I had to just grind my teeth and pretend to be nice.
I’m getting worked up just writing about it, that’s how annoying this whole thing is.
The thing is, I try to be good and patient and kind, but I don’t really like being good and patient and kind. Sometimes it’s just too hard and I’m too lazy. I’ve been struggling with this idea of submitting to those in authority for a while. Submitting is hard. Submitting to people we think are idiots is even harder.
And then this morning my devotion was Jesus talking to me from Luke and it kicked my butt and I rolled my eyes and wanted to scream a little but it was too early for screaming and I didn’t want to wake my children. Anyway, here’s the butt-kicking:
“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.
I tell you, love you enemy. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never–I promise–regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.” (Luke 6:27-36, The Message)
I’m still not happy about it, but excuse me while I go give this idiot my really nice woman’s coat. It’s going to look great on him.