Monday, January 19, 2015
That Time When I Was Robbed
A few years ago, someone stole from me. Someone that I considered to be more than an acquaintance. Actually, I handed over the money of my own accord. There was a promise about what was to happen with the money. The promise was never kept, the money was never returned, and there was no communication on the part of the person that took the money. None.
I did inquire several times as to the time frame, and whether it was going to work out. Still, this person that called me 'friend', and 'sister', did not return my money. After more than a year had passed, I began to pray about how to handle this situation. Our family isn't in a position to hand over hundreds of dollars and not miss it. We need to prepare well in advance not only to give an amount that is substantial to us, but to spend it on anything at all. It wasn't even just the keeping of the money that bothered me, but that there had been a promise of a gift that would be combined with our portion for something that we desperately needed. We ended up having to find what we needed elsewhere at a considerably lesser amount, and therefore, a lesser quality.
After a time in prayer, I felt that I needed to forgive this person. I contacted them, communicated about my disappointment in the lack of communication, and expressed that I would be forgiving the debt. I was rewarded with a "Oh, I don't expect you to do that!" and an offer of services in exchange for the money. No apology. No follow up. Nothing.
It took me another two years to realize that it wasn't just forgiveness of the debt that I needed to be willing to give. It was forgiveness of her thievery. Yes, it was thievery. She stole from me. She took my money, made a promise that was likely sincere in the beginning, but never returned the money, and never admitted to it. It is my feeling that this was for more important to me than it was to her. Since then, she has seen tremendous success in her career, she has made several purchases, taken trips, etc. I only know this because the internet is such a public place. Still, she has never even offered an apology.
I found that every time I saw or heard of some wonderful financial gain of hers, I felt angry. Then, I would remember how much I like this woman. How much everyone likes this woman. I would wonder, why does this mean so much to me, and obviously so little to her? How can she call me a sister one day, then steal from me and dismiss me the next?
I was stewing in my anger and growing bitter toward this woman. The thing about bitterness is that it destroys the bitter one while everyone else gets on with life. I needed to forgive her. The debt should have been secondary, the relationship should have been first. As it stands, I now have never seen the money again, and I no longer have a relationship with this woman.
There is a great difference between bitterness and memory. What I have now is a memory. Of course, I won't do business with this person again, and I won't recommend her to others, but because bitterness isn't in my heart for her, I also won't speak badly of her to others.
It does happen sometimes that we are cheated or robbed, and still we need to forgive. I would hope that from time to time, my debts are forgiven. I also pray for the woman that stole from me, now not with bitterness, but instead with hope that she will choose honesty, and that she will value the relationships in her life.
Have you been robbed? How did you respond? Are you harboring bitterness?