The day after it was printed, I came face to face with a member of a group that has hated my guts for several years.
I told myself when the feud started that I could clear the whole thing up if I were ever contacted directly by someone from the other side. Honestly, I just wanted the opportunity to fight back in person.
I got my chance when I least expected it.
Author Beth Moore described my experience that day in a Bible Study I am working through now on living in the Spirit.
Most of us trust that God can and will transform us as we walk with Him through the years, but there are moments when we don’t have that kind of time.
Our child or spouse makes an announcement that shakes our world to the core, and we have to respond.
Our mortal enemy is yelling an inch from our face, and we clinch our fists while silently and half-heartedly praying, “Lord, if it’s thy will, restrain me from slapping her.”
In my case, there wasn’t a spare second to ask for humbleness, patience or understanding — all of which I needed in heavy doses.
So I just started explaining the situation. There are parts of the story that only I can tell, and I was finally telling them to the appropriate person.
For the first time, I was listening too.
The meeting didn’t exactly end in a session of hand-holding and singing “Kumbaya,” but I do feel that we parted on good terms.
I laughed all the way back to the office about God’s peculiar timing.
This issue was filed in my forgotten folder long ago. I never expected it to resurface again.
However, I will admit that I have a lot of unresolved anger regarding this incident from my past. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the opportunity to face my feelings never came until I had made a public love dare.
The hypothetical confrontations in my mind always involve me doing a lot of yelling as I go over all the reasons I am right and my opponent is wrong.
That day wasn’t about changing anyone’s mind. They have just as much right to their opinion as I have the right to defend myself and my work.
But I am also bound by a law of love. When left to my own raw emotions, I will break it every time.
Because of my first “one perfect word” challenge, I now know what it feels like to rely on a love I do not naturally possess to get through a situation I cannot control.
The people I show love to in 2013 may or may not care or even notice it. At this point, I believe only one thing for sure — I will be changed.