In the 1990s I started a new job. The company was owned by a husband and wife and was managed by their son. It did not take long to see that the manager of the company was going to be a big problem. I had never encountered anyone quite like him. His life ambition was to see how miserable he could make everyone at the company feel. It is difficult for me to put into words just how terrible it was. Maybe you have had the misfortune of encountering someone like this. It does not take long when you are living this nightmare, when you wake up in the morning to go to work and you have that knot inside your stomach because you know it is going to be another day of turmoil. All the employees, including me, endured this ridicule for years.
One day the manager became ill and was hospitalized. He had been in the hospital for several days, and to be honest, we all felt like we were on vacation!
About the fourth day in the hospital, I sensed the Lord speak to me to send him flowers with a nice get-well card. The Lord and I had several heart-to-heart conversations about this. I have to be honest and tell you that, at first, I thought, “You have got to be kidding me! You want me to do what? Why in the world would I do such a thing?”
I tried to ignore what I knew God was asking me to do but I also knew that I had better obey and do this with the right attitude. God knew something I didn’t and was seeing something I could not see, so I obeyed. I called the florist and ordered a dozen roses to be delivered to his room at the hospital. On the card, I said, “I hope you are feeling better and are able to return to work soon. We are praying for you!” I signed the card from me and my wife.
The Lord impressed upon me to pray for the man and told me the flowers we sent would be the only flowers he would receive. I later learned this to be true. The next day my phone rang. On the other end of the line was a man’s voice that, at first, I did not recognize. Then I realized it was him. He was crying and said, “Why did you send me these flowers after everything I have done to you? Why would you do that?”
I told him we were all worried about him and wanted him to get better and my wife and I wanted him to know we were praying for him. He went on to tell me that no one had ever done such a thing for him and how much it meant. I’d like to tell you that this changed him forever and from that day forward he was a different person, but it would not be true. But I did accomplish one thing by obeying God that day. For a moment in time, I hope he understood grace and love. For that, I was grateful.
Perhaps you are experiencing someone like this in your work or school and are having to endure such hardships daily. I’m reminded of what Joseph endured in the Bible: his brothers selling him into slavery and being falsely accused and then thrown into prison. Joseph had many bad things happen to him, yet God continued to raise him up. Ultimately, God placed Joseph in a position he never thought possible. Satan uses all kinds of tactics to try and disable us and to throw us off track. His desire is to inflict turmoil that consumes our attention instead of allowing us to focus on God. There is a way to turn this around and I want to share it with you.
Begin to pray each day for the person who is doing you wrong. At first it may not be easy, but it will get easier over time. Pray for God to bless this person. Doing this will unlock the chains of bondage that hold you. Say out loud that you forgive this person for everything they have done to you. This releases you, sets you free and allows God to usher in and begin His work.
Father, the enemy knows how gut wrenching it is for us when others treat us unfairly and talk about us behind our back. I pray for anyone going through this dark time. May they take their eyes off the situation and focus on you. Give them the courage and strength to pray earnestly for those who are doing them wrong and to be able to forgive. Thank you for fighting our battles for us. You are opening doors we cannot open. You are our protector and our redeemer. We place it all in your hands in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Brad Shotts is a member of the Rotary Club of Waxahachie and attends Oaks Fellowship Church in Red Oak, where he serves on the ministry team. He loves serving his community.