Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:21)
When I prayed about what to do with an overbearing co-worker, Jesus whispered to me, “Buy her cupcakes.” It seemed absurd, but I decided to go along with it anyway. (Click here for Part 1. Click here for Part 2.)
I drove across town to the only store that carried the woman’s favorite cupcakes. I wavered a bit when I learned that they were three times the cost of ordinary cupcakes. I decided to buy them anyway and send the bill to my lawyer. I bought them, took them home, and wrapped them as a gift.
“I forgive the woman for what she’s done,” I prayed out loud. “These are not just for her, God – they’re for You.”
The next day, I woke up with butterflies pounding in my stomach like an out-of-sync steel drum band. How would my co-worker respond? I saw her first thing in the morning.
“These are for you,” I mumbled, handing her the gift with a shaky smile. She opened the package, grinned, and began to chatter. She thanked me over and over. She spoke with me as though I were an old friend. And suddenly the walls came down.
Was that gesture a bribe? No. With the gift, grace was introduced into the equation and the woman was defenseless against an open display of acceptance and love. Did it end the problems? I wish I could say yes. But some of the problems continued. More importantly, though, it set the precedent for establishing the authority of the fruit of the Spirit in that place.
We don’t have control over the decisions of others. But we can deliberately choose our own actions and reactions and impact people in meaningful ways . When we pray, God will show us creative ways to take the initiative and demonstrate acceptance to others, even if we’re the only one in the situation going at it His way.
Although it doesn’t seem to make sense, giving up the pursuit of vindication and walking in steadfast kindness creates a shift that tips the scales of justice in our favor.
Friend, where do we find justice when we’re investing in a relationship that goes south? Is it right to expect people to reconcile with us immediately? Why or why not?