Just yesterday I was in a discussion with a woman and it suddenly turned very ugly. What I thought was her attempt to answer a question I didn't ask ended up being a ploy to bait me into a discussion so that she could belittle me, tear me to pieces and basically tell me I wasn't important, all the while completely denying that there was any truth to what I was saying to her. My attempts at being completely unbiased and loving to her about a situation which occurred before this discussion were deemed nothing more than my having an arrogant, know-it-all personality, and that I was trying to be God. However, what really cut to my heart was not all of her lies, misunderstanding, sarcasm, and defensiveness. It wasn't the fact that she told me that until I receive death threats like she does, I don't have any idea what I'm talking about and I'm unimportant....Nor was it even her inability to talk to me at all like I was a human being. It was the fact that she is in a position of influence and power, and is supposed to be doing God's work for a very important matter of life, yet she has this heart that is still so broken from her past that she is incapable of handling what her skewed perception deems a "tough" situation with someone she doesn't even know. Boy have I been there!
I had to prioritize my purpose in this matter but it was a little bit of a jaunt before I got to realizing that. After I realized that she wasn't going to "play nice," give me the benefit of the doubt and at least TRY to muster up even an ounce of the decency I know she must have, I'm not proud to say I called her a phony, as well as prideful and arrogant. Now, regardless of whether these things are true, I should have never said them. And for that, I am sorry. But once I got to that point, it finally hit me how much Satan had been using BOTH of us in this situation and I suddenly got very angry at the whole thing. Not at her. I wasn't ever angry at her. I have too much pity for her to be angry. The things she said to me were so laughable and sad that I had no room for anger. I know in her position, Satan is working on her very hard right now. He works on all of us when we are doing God's work. She is doing something that Satan really detests. She turned from her life of serving his cause to serving God and that really made him angry. What I absolutely HATE most in this scenario with her is that we both fell for it. I can see why she could as she has so many issues and really was under his grasp in such a strong way for such a long time, but for me to fall for that small temptation just really upsets me.
Of course, I do not think for one second that I am completely unable to be tempted. If I felt that way, I'd be delusional. I'd be prideful. And what's that bible verse about pride? It goes before the fall. If you think you're immune to temptation, take heed lest you fall. Yeah. I'm a sinner just like everyone else and Satan tempts me A LOT, daily, especially concerning my family life....and I fall for it A LOT. But I thought I was a little bit further along in my ability to avoid falling for such a cheap shot as this. Through God's mercy and grace, I've worked so hard for such a long time to come to a place of being able to sense these types of attacks; to see them for what they are before they go too far. And yet, somehow, I didn't see this one. I even knew a little of what type of person she was capable of being, and yet still wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, reach out to her, love her. And most of what I said to her was just that. But when I lowered the bar of morality and deemed it acceptable for myself to call her names, I lost myself in that temptation and let sin take over. I'm angry at myself. I know I can be tempted and fall, I just thought it'd be a little less easy to do it with something like this.
What is SO amazing about God, though, is that He takes these situations and uses them for His good. If I hadn't ever had this "opportunity" to fail, I wouldn't have been reminded of a very important set of lessons. Not only that hurting people hurt and we should pray for them when they hurt us, but that no matter what Satan does, God is so much bigger than he is and God can work in the hearts of the people Satan has used. I mean, just looking at the history of this woman's life, I can see that. She is doing something so amazing right now with her life and her efforts are commendable in so many ways. God has taken her from her awful past and put her back on the path He had for her and she is letting Him. We are kindred spirits in that respect. Not only that, but I know there are times, like the small blip in this situation, when I have let my feelings of hurt hinder Christ's love from shining through me 100%. So God has worked in my heart to forgive her by reminding me that He (and those I have hurt before) have forgiven me.
One other amazing outcome of this whole thing is that I actually got an apology from her. Never in a thousand years would I have even expected one, let alone think I'd get it. The cynical side of me (Satan?) wants to believe she didn't really mean it, but I am just going to give her the benefit of the doubt and accept it. I appreciate that she even said anything. It also gave me a chance to apologize for those silly names I called her. I'm still mad at myself for that and I really have to pray hard to get passed this whole thing. But most importantly, I need to pray for her; that she will continue on this path with God, that He blesses her efforts, and most importantly, that He will pour His grace and mercy over her like warm oil, helping her heal from her past so that He can continue to use her for His purposes.