Opportunity Knocks

She asks me to walk with her to fill her water bottle.  To join her as she heats her lunch.  She says we should walk for 10 minutes each day.  Together.  I want to find excuses not to join her.  I value my time alone.  I enjoy my independence.  She’s an extrovert.  I’m not.

Her personality is strong.  Overly confident.  Pushy.  She’s accustomed to getting her way.  We are polar opposites.

We have huge differences that separate us.  Cultural differences.  She wears a hijab.  She dresses modestly.  She eats halal foods.  She prays five times a day.  She doesn’t believe in Christ.  She lives in darkness.  She needs the light.

She’s new here.  She’s trying to fit in.  Trying to find a friend.  She’s chosen me.  I’m finding it difficult to choose her.  She called me her new bff.  I cringed a little inside.

But when I look at her from the eyes of the one who died on the cross for me, I see her differently.  He died on the cross for her, too.  She needs an opportunity to know Him.  Someone said that she’s drawn to the light.  Coming from darkness, it’s perhaps different and interesting for her to come face to face with the light.  She doesn’t even realize it’s the light that she’s attracted to.  But she’s being drawn to it.  So why am I resisting being the light that she needs?  Why do I want her to look for the light somewhere else?  Perhaps I’m the only Jesus she’ll ever meet.  Why do I resist so?


But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?  And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? Romans 10:14-15


I know I need to spend time with her.  How do the lost become saved if the saved don’t spend time with them?  How does one who doesn’t believe in Christ start believing if no one shares the truth?

I read a prayer recently that said, “Lord, give me opportunities to share all that You have taught me with someone who needs You.”  I must confess.  I’m not one who openly shares my faith with strangers.  To me, it would be utter boldness to share my faith uninvited.  The thought of doing so makes me shudder.  I  tend to stand back and listen.  And wait.  Oh.  I know those who confidently share their faith.  For them, it isn’t boldness.  It’s as natural to them as breathing.  I’m a little envious, because they don’t have to work at it.  They just do it.  They know everyone they meet needs their Jesus.  I know it, too, but I can’t get the words out.

I know we all have our own unique strengths and weaknesses.  I’m not saying I shouldn’t share my faith.  I should.  My approach has to be my approach.  Not someone else’s.  But I do need to share when given the opportunity.

I see this opportunity in front of me.  I want to be faithful and obedient.  Even bold.  I don’t think God wants me to be someone I’m not.  But I believe he provides opportunities for all who call on Him to share His love with anyone who crosses our path.  No matter what our differences may be.  We all have one common need.  We all need God.  Heaven have mercy if I fail to do my part when called to do so.

Maybe it’s time for a 10 minute walk.

 

Lesson Learned

It’s been in the news again this week.  Another high profile person going down for treating others disrespectfully.  He got fired.  Others haven’t.  But investigations may or may not prove the truth of what’s being said.

I’m sure there are many others living in fear that their disgusting acts and words will be shared with the world.  Their worst moments will be publicized.  Are they preparing for a fight?  Will they defend themselves even if the proof is undeniable?  Are they really innocent and suffering needlessly?  Only time will tell.

I’ve never understood how people who’ve treated others badly seem to be sorry only when they’ve been caught.  When they’ve been outed to the world.  When the bad acts have perhaps been happening for years?  Why act sorry now?  Are they sorry they hurt someone else?  Did they try to stop themselves?  Did they just move on and find another victim?  Or are they just sorry they got caught?  I always wonder.


Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble. Proverbs 21:23


I never understood that type of behavior.  Until I realized I’m one of them.  Oh.  Not for the same reason.  But I am guilty of doing wrong to another.

I talked about her behind her back.  I was sorry only when I thought she had heard me.

Now I know how those public figures feel when they’ve been outed for their sins.  When their private acts become public knowledge.  They’re sorry now that they’ve been caught.  That’s how I felt.  Sorry that I’d been caught.  Why wasn’t I sorry for speaking ill of someone while I was doing it?  Why didn’t I just stop my words when they became thoughts?  Because I thought she wasn’t sitting near me.  Because I thought she wouldn’t hear.  Because I thought I wouldn’t get caught.

I’m no better than those who have been caught.  I wronged an innocent person.  She did nothing wrong.  She didn’t ask for it.  I was wrong.

It’s a different emotion you feel when you’ve been caught.  Where once you felt in control of the situation, now the situation controls you.  You live in fear.  You’ve been exposed for who you really are.  No longer invincible.  No longer living with integrity.  No longer the trusted friend.

Shame.  Remorse.  Fear.  Dare we hope for forgiveness.  I can see how someone living in the depths of hopelessness might choose to end their life.  When they think they are unforgivable.  When they know the world will learn of their failings.  When they think they’ve lost everything.  I’m not hopeless. I didn’t consider ending my life.  But I wanted to run.  I wanted to run away from the situation and never go back.  I don’t ever again want to have that awful feeling in my gut that I’ve wronged someone else.

No.  There was no inappropriate touching or gestures.  No sleazy suggestions or threats.  But there were words spoken about someone who trusted me.  Someone who days before had called me friend.  Why did I do it?  I was uncomfortable with her friendliness.  Wanting more from me than I could give.  So I spoke about her.  Not against her.  But not for her.

I get it now.  How others must feel when they’ve been exposed.  It feels ugly.  Really ugly.  How do I face her ever again?  How can I look her in the eye?

I’ve graciously been spared from embarrassment this time.  My rude words were left unheard by the victim.  Heartache that could have happened didn’t.  My honor is still intact.  At least, outwardly.  Inwardly, it’s taken a beating.  As it should.  I’ve learned my lesson.