Protection

The last few days have been interesting.

I work for Discovery Health at the moment. Generally I get one or two calls in a day where I can actually make a significant difference to their lives. Sometimes I even have a caller who says something that impacts mine.

On Monday this week (July 2nd) I was transferred to a new team in the call centre. My new Team Leader is a young woman who has been transferred in from Durban. It’s a smaller team, and there’s an intimacy that comes with that. Monday went well. Had a long talk with her and we hit it off well.

Tuesday was good too. I am feeling positive about the new team, and although I’d still like to move departments as I originally wanted, It’d be ok to stay where I am for now as well.

Yesterday was a bit different though. I set off for what I expected to be a normal day at the office and didn’t make it. As I was taking a corner near work, I hit first a painted arrow on the road, then a patch of oil, and finally a rumble strip designed to remind car drivers to slow down. Unfortunately, on a bike what happens is you begin to lose traction on damp road paint, it gets worse, and when you then hit the rumble strip, you lose all grip entirely.

So shortly after this I found myself lying face-down on tarmac, and counting my bones to make sure nothing was broken. Shoulder pain, rib pain, hip joint, split lip and seriously looking at my life from a somewhat different angle than normal.

I got up from the road and apologised to the nice man who I’d shouted at when he tried to take my helmet off. Six hours later I’d been x-rayed, ultrasounded and generally poked and prodded to find out what the problem was.

Apparently the problem was I had attacked a planet by throwing my body against it.

The planet won.

I’ve ridden motorbikes for some time now. I like the freedom of the wind on my face, so as I ride up this road I normally open my visor. This time I didn’t. No particular reason, I just didn’t. I always carry my cell phone in my left breast pocket in my leathers. Yesterday I didn’t. I put it in my jeans. I’ve been riding with my chin-strap loose for a while. Yesterday I just had a feeling I should tighten it properly.

Little nudges. Little hints.

I had a strange feeling in myself on the approach. As I got to the previous turn-off I felt like I should take it.

A nudge. A hint.

Ignored.

So now, my bike is stuck awaiting repairs. Arm in a sling, likely for about 6 weeks barring a miracle (which I actually do expect), and the rest of this week off work in more pain than I’d like, but already less than I expected.

I didn’t listen to all the nudges God sent me, but thankfully I heard enough of them. My helmet saved my life. Leaving the visor down saved my face. Protection.

God’s hints literally saved my life. Had I listened more carefully I’d have saved the bike as well.

He wants the best for His children. God is for us. On our side. guiding if we will only listen.

Andrew Wommack says you only run into the devil ad his work when you are moving against him.

God only gives us what we can handle. What we do with it is up to us. I expect to heal quickly – faster than the doctors predict. Meanwhile I’ll be reminded by the pain to listen.

God didn’t cause the accident. My own mistakes did that. God didn’t tear the tendons in my shoulder. Yesterday’s scans showed tears in two tendons. Today’s showed less damage to one and none to the other.

He gives us protection. What we need to do is listen.

A Mighty Power

I got a reminder this week. I was reminded of just how powerful I am in Christ.

I didn’t see the dead raised, or the blind see, or the lame walk.

Those are mighty works, but they are sirens to announce the real power.

Forgiveness.

It’s a small word, and not popular. People have a misconception of it’s meaning. We assume it means there are no longer consequences for those actions we’ve committed.

The real power in forgiveness is freedom. Not for the forgiven, but for the forgiver.

I’d forgotten long ago about some of the freedom I’ve received from forgiving in my heart the people over the years who have hurt me, either through ignorance, malice, youthful exuberence or unknowingly. The reminder came in the form of an unexpected contact from an individual I’d not heard from or given any thought to in over 20 years.

My brother was killed in an accident when I was young, and this boy reminded me of him. As a result, I took out my hurt and anger at the loss on him, attacking every time. I was a bully, just like some of the people who attacked me.

The contact was initiated by him, because he didn’t clearly remember who I was until we reconnected. Once he did, he immedtately recoiled away as the memory of the hurt I’d caused hit him like a slap across the face.

I don’t blame him.

I did, however, persue him – not because I felt I wanted his forgiveness for myself, but rather because of the obvious pain the memory caused him, I presume due to unforgiveness towards me.

This is an assumption based from my own experience. I carried a great deal of hurt with me for many years because the people I refused to forgive were, in my opinion, undeserving of forgiveness.

God gets to me sometimes. In my head the conversation will start with Him chatting to me like any friend. Then comes the kicker.

“David?”
“Yes?”
“Do you remember that time when this happened to you and your response was to hold on?”
“What’s your point?”
“Let go.”
“Huh?” (I can be pretty dumb sometimes)
“Let go.”
“Like, forget about it?”
“No, let go.”
“Huh?”
“I can’t heal that part of you while you’re holding on to the unforgiveness towards the person who hurt you. Let go.”
“You mean, forgive then?”
Silence. (God lets me think about my latest dumb question.)

This goes on for a while, then I agree and make the decision to forgive.

That’s right, the decision.

Forgiveness, like true Love, is not an emotion primarily. It is a choice. We choose to forgive. After the passion of the endorphine rush of emotional love we choose true Love to make a relationship last.

We have to choose to forgive, even when we don’t feel like forgiving. The first time we forgive we usually don’t have a rush of warm feelings. The memory still burns in us, and we have to often re-visit the choice and make it again. And again.

And again.

Some of the people I disliked most in my youth I now correspond with regularly, and value their input in my life. Others are a work in progress. A few are labelled for review at a later time.

The point is, whenever I have reached the point of forgiveness it has left me feeling stronger and more complete. Closer to God even. Another brick in my defences is removed and replace with strength instead of imperviousness.

After corresponding for some time, there is now communication open between me and my victim – and I do not use the word lightly. My actions towards him were abhorrent to me as I am today. I asked his forgiveness, and apologised for the pain I caused him.

Why am I writing this? It’s not for self-promotion, certainly. Although I can see why some people whould assume it might be. I genuinely don’t care what most people think of me or what assumptions may be drawn regarding my motives.

I was humbled by the reaction to my apology. People have done less to me than I did to this person, and I have rejected their olive-branches. I am not a great man, but I have been forgiven by God through Christ.

His opinion of me and what I should do is what drives me now, sometimes through gritted teeth, to offer forgiveness as I can. Sometimes He asks and I say no. I carry the pain for longer than I need to because I refuse to just let go.

But ultimately, we all need to reach a point of strength where the only opinion that matters is His, and forgiveness comes easily from the heart, not because the offender deserves forgiving, but because the only person who actually gets hurt when we don’t is ourself.

Forgive. Love. It’s powerful, revolutionary and healing.