I hope I’m at liberty to share this, and I don’t think anyone in power will mind. But let’s get personal for a minute…
I have a job I’m really struggling with. I’ll be honest and say when I started the job, the first week, I was a wreck. I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into. I might be even more of a wreck these days, because I’ve gone from being very unsure about my job, to being desperate to hold onto it. Not because I need my job… But because I love it. So there’s more of an urgency to do it right and do it well. And, so far… Both of those things are a problem. It’s a fun job with fun people. But it’s tough.
I’m about three months into it now. One day during the first month, I made a horrible, horrible mistake; one that would have and should have gotten me fired. For the first time in my life, ever, I was a no call, no show. The next morning, I still hadn’t talked to a manager, and I begged my church family not to make me go back. They insisted and the pastor’s wife took me herself. Thank God I didn’t have a choice.
So, what happened? I honestly wish I had a good answer. At the time, I wish I could have told them I was in some horrible accident, or I was hospitalized with a rare unpronounceable disease. But, they didn’t see it that way. Two managers sat me down at the end of my shift, and before the job was ever even mentioned, one of them said, “First off… Are you okay?”
They didn’t even ask initially what had happened, or what my excuse was. They were concerned for me. ME. Yes, eventually, the job was discussed, but their first concern was not about the job. And I was blown away. They were very glad I wasn’t in an accident, and that nothing was wrong with me they couldn’t pronounce. I expected to have the book thrown at me, and that would be if I kept the job at all. I waited for a bomb to go off that I’d heard ticking in my head all day, only to realize there was never any danger. In fact, the managers even raised me one more: There was no consequence. Only forgiveness. And as I walked away from the meeting, I remember thinking that I’d just stared grace and mercy in the face. That’s what it looked like. I’d just seen it.
Since then, I can honestly say I’ve stepped up my game. I wanted to make up for what I’d done, and began to put my heart and soul into the job. As I reflected on that meeting again recently, I remembered a post someone had put on Facebook. It was a picture of a child with a pained expression, with a caption that said, “Spilled milk is easy to clean up. Wounded hearts aren’t.”
Business, party, or personal, I’ve learned a major lesson in life from this job. And these managers taught me that good employees, friends, and relationships in general are built solely by our encounters with them. They could’ve fired me, but they showed grace. My response was to give them my all in return. My son has spilled drinks, and I’ve jumped onto him. I feel so bad about that. What I did was way worse than dropping a glass.
And then, what a display of Christ… They could’ve quoted him. “Go, and miss work no more.” They pretty much did. Because of their reaction that led to my reaction, I now love my job. I’m even more grateful for my second chance now than I was when I got it, because I would have been missing out on what I have now. Just, praise God…
Jesus is the most powerful name there is. But our words hold a lot of power too, and how we use them can either lift people up or tear them down. That’s just basic Christian principle. So why don’t we apply that? Why do we hit the roof over trivial things that won’t matter tomorrow? And why don’t we use the opportunities given to us to empower and uphold one another? Why don’t we show love? When did we start messing this up?
If you’ve said hurtful things to someone, or if you ever reacted to a situation in a fleshy way, seek forgiveness. Make it right. Even if your reaction stemmed from something they did wrong, your anger did nothing to change what they had done. And really, what’s the point? “It’s okay, I forgive you,” will create a much better relationship than saying, “What are you, stupid?!” Lasting relationships are built on a Godly foundation; one of mercy, truth, and love. Anything outside of that, and there’s no foundation at all. You’re just building a shack on sinking sand.
And pray! Pray for a heart like God’s that is slow to anger and quick to love. I promise, you’ll see the fruit. Not always in your lifetime, but certainly one day. But more often than not, you’ll began to see that the relationship is changed for the better.
Extend grace. Walk in love. Be patient. And it’s my prayer for you that you will be the kind of person that people walk away from saying, “That was grace.”