The Battle with the Will
To come to the decision that will lead you into the pleasant valleys of peace is to struggle with your own will. To illustrate, note the experience of Jerome Weller.
Weller was department foreman of a manufacturing firm in Trenton, New Jersey. One day his boss called him into the office and said, “Jerry, as you know, things are a bit slow around here 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.”
Weller 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 pretty wild parties together. As a result, their work sometimes suffered and Jerry had to step in to rescue them. He had worked hard. This was his reward.
Weller now faced a financial slump. He had been making payments on a new home and a car. When his salary was suddenly cut off, he was in trouble. He lost both house and car and had to move in with his parents, who lived in Michigan. 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 would say to himself over and over. The more he thought, the more bitter he became. He found it hard to eat, 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. Weller found another job and at this point was quite successful in it. He was, In fact, 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 plant’s new chief engineer. Of course he would, and did. Weller found himself face-to-face with the man who 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 there,” the engineer said to Weller when they were alone. “Will you forgive me?”
“Oh, certainly. Forget it,” Weller replied.
Jerome Weller said he would forgive, but within himself he nursed a gnawing bitterness toward this man. His stomachache returned. He began reliving those confusing, awful days of long ago. He had thought this period of his life was long forgotten, but he found himself fuming in his plush office, wanting only to get even.
One day he related the experience to me, then asked how one could work with a person who had treated him as this man had treated him.
What would have been your reply?