Dave was a department foreman at a manufacturing firm. One day his boss called him into the office and said, “Dave, as you know, things are a bit slow these days. I realize you have worked hard and run one of the best departments in the company, but my orders are to cut one supervisor, so I am letting you go.”
Dave was stunned. He was the only Christian among the foremen. The other supervisory personnel, including his boss, liked to go out drinking and had some wild parties together. As a result, their work sometimes suffered and Dave had to step in to rescue them. He had worked hard and now this was his reward.
Dave soon faced a financial slump. He had been making payments on a new home and a car but when his salary was suddenly cut off, he was in trouble. He lost both the house and the car and had to move in with his parents. While with them, he had nothing to do but sit in a comfortable chair and mull over his experience.
“So this is the reward for hard work and clean living,” he said to himself over and over. The more he thought, the more bitter he became. He found it hard to eat and harder to digest what little he did eat. He suffered from painful cramps. His physician told him that his condition stemmed from his emotions. But most of his friends reassured him that he had a right to have some emotional problems.
Twelve years later, time seemed to have healed the wound. Dave found another job and was quite successful in it. He was, in fact, the general manager of a manufacturing outfit with eight plants. One day while he was inspecting one of the plants, the personnel director asked him if he would like to meet the new chief engineer. Of course he would, and did. Dave found himself face-t0-face with the man who had fired him 12 years before. Here working for him was the person who had caused him so much grief, pain, and embarrassment.
“I sure made a terrible mistake back then,” the engineer said to Dave when they were alone. “Will you forgive me?”
“Oh, certainly. Forget it,” Dave replied.
Dave said he would forgive, but within himself he nursed a gnawing bitterness toward this man. His stomach problem returned and he began reliving those confusing, painful days of long ago. He had thought this period of his life was long forgotten, but now he found himself fuming in his plush office, wanting only to get even.
There is a power that will enable you to face your circumstances without distress. It is the power of God, made available to you through the dying of the Lord Jesus. God’s power–and His alone–can make you want to forgive a person who has misused you.
But Dave did not want to forgive that engineer; he wanted to get even. He believed that he had a right to be bitter. He wanted to be free from his aches and pain, but if that meant relinquishing his long-standing grudge, he would rather be in pain.
The only solution was for Dave to quit fighting and turn to God for a spirit of love toward someone who did not deserve it. One day, Dave finally did turn to God for help with his bitterness and hatred. He paid attention to and took care of his own reactions and feelings instead of concerning himself with what the other man had done, and he found himself on the road to peace.
To see your sin is disturbing only if you fight what you discover. If, instead, you admit it and seek help from God, the result is not guilt, but an overwhelming sense of forgiveness, cleansing, renewal, and peace.
The names and certain details in this story have been changed to protect each person’s identity and privacy.