Thursday, February 7, 2008

Tag, I'm it! - Bible Style

I was tagged by my Dad the other day and thought I would do a different twist on it. The tag was to pick up the nearest book, but I decided to go downstairs and grab my Bible instead to see where it would lead me. Here were the "rules"....
Pick up the nearest book, (of at least 123 pages). Open the book to page 123. Find the fifth sentence. Post the next three sentences. Tag five people.

I opened my Bible to the page and it was the book of Leviticus. I thought the rules said fifth paragraph when I first read it, so I had already decided to do that by the time I reread the rules and realized my mistake. But then after a few minutes I realized I was on page 125, not 123...maybe I need to put my glasses on. But seeing as that what I read really spoke to me, I think it's best to stick with that. Besides, it's actually shorter to do the paragraph than it is to do the few sentences.

You shall not hate your fellow countrymen in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:17-18

It's amazing what reaches out to me at the time I need it. Last night was particularly rough on me when a customer I did a dog adoption with last week came in and started going off on me, accusing me of things that I didn't do. It certainly didn't help that a few other customers were around watching the whole thing...and those who were interested in adopting dogs promptly left the area. When she left, I cried for a couple of minutes, wiped my face and held a puppy to cheer myself up and comforted myself with the knowledge that I did nothing wrong. But last night I started brooding over the situation and I couldn't fall asleep for a bit because my mind kept wandering the things I could have said if I was just that bold and could care less about being fired. I kept telling myself "stop brooding, Mary" but my mind kept going back to that moment, and I could feel myself getting angry and again I was thinking of snarky comments I could have told her. Eventually I was able to focus on a much happier thought and it was enough to get my mind off the situation...moments later, I finally fell asleep.

This morning when I read this passage because of my mistake in reading the tag rules, I couldn't believe how timely it was. Do not hate, do not take vengeance, do not incur sin because of the person, do not bear a grudge...what powerful words! I wasn't wrong in feeling hurt or even upset that someone would treat me in such a way, but I was wrong in brooding over it and I was wrong in allowing my mind to come up with "put you in your place" comments. It's a reminder to me that I can do nothing on my own...I need God to be able to stand up.

It was a huge relief to me when after reading that, the grudge I bore against her was no longer there. Deep in me, I knew that the quick-growing bitterness was wrong, but I think I needed that clear, in your face passage to really point it out to me. Instead of remaining angry at her, I'm now just saddened for her. What is going on in her life that makes her so angry that she takes it out on me? I don't know, but I pray she finds the healing she needs.

Perhaps my mistake in reading the rules wasn't a mistake after all.


Craver Vii said...

Those Bible verses sound like a divine prescription for the moment.

Good thing you had that puppy to hold in the mean time. Heh! ...mean time.

Your own dog, Jiko is so unusual that way. Last night, we were watching the old classic, Boys' Town with Spencer Tracy. This dog sat quietly on my lap for ten or fifteen minutes.

Later, I picked her up and held her like a baby, just because dogs hate that... except yours. She seemed just fine to let me hold her and carry her around.

She'll come in handy for stress relief in times like you just mentioned.

mama craver said...

Your dad's a BIG softy when it comes to Jiko! He may not admit it but he is sooo going to miss her when she leaves in May!

david mcmahon said...

Mary, how wonderful to be tagged by your Dad and to come up with this post at such an appropriate time.

I'm so sorry to hear that the woman upset you.

Also, I hope you;re feeling better after your previous post.

We all need awareness when it comes to getting out of grudge-mode. God bless you for sharing this.


Sandi McBride said...

I always feel that nothing happens by accident. You read the rules the way you were supposed to understand them..."lean not to thine own understanding" went where you were supposed to go, I think. Maybe the lady had a bad day, or a bad week, or even a bad month. She's probably feeling embarrassed about her behaviour even now. God has a way of leveling the playing field, don't you think? I loved this post, and have David to thank for sending me here. Very nice post!

Jules~ said...

I am visiting from Authorblog.
Thank you so much for being transparent and sharing this story with us. I have been in that position many a time. God is always so good to point us in the direction we need and lovingly guide us in what is His way.

Vienna for Beginners said...

I hope you are feeling better now, and that maybe one day there comes the moment when you can meet and forgive the person who hurt you.
In similar situations, it usually helps me think that the other person may live through some tough times, and I happened to be there at the wrong moment.
Thanks to David McMahon for sending me over here.

Am'n2deep said...

Hi Mary! David sent me. I really enjoyed this post as well as the last. Life can be very bitter-sweet. Out of our most painful and frustrating circumstances and experiences can come such amazing growth and wisdom. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

Mary said...

Hi Dad and Mom!
We're so excited that the time to get Jiko is coming closer and closer! Dad, isn't she funny on how she likes to cuddle? We held her the way you're describing as well and we tried to tell her that she's a dog but I don't think she listened. Of course, I'm not so sure our other furbabies realize they are guinea pigs...but I digress. I know you all will miss her when she's gone!

David, thank you, as always, for your words of encouragement. I am feeling better since my last post (and hey, it's my birthday today so I'm determined to stay happy!). I'm not upset at the woman anymore, I just had to remind myself that this wasn't about me, even though she may believe it is.

Mary said...

Hello Sandi! You are absolutely right...I read those rules the way God intended me to. My "mistake" was just what I needed, or as Craver said, a divine prescription. Thanks for stopping by!

Hi Jules! "God is always so good to point us in the direction we need and lovingly guide us in what is His way." Amen!! How awesome that when I don't know what I'm doing...God does!

Mary said...

Welcome Vienna! I think maybe I was there at the right moment rather than the wrong one. Not that I particularly enjoyed the experience, but I think I really needed that moment to be able to understand and appreciate the passage I did. I'm glad you were able to drop in!

Hey there am'n2deep! You're so right, amazing growth comes from the hard times. It's easy to be strong when things are going well...but our true character shows when we're put to the test. Definitely a refiner's fire! I appreciate your comment!

Craver Vii said...

Happy birthday to you!!!

mama craver said...

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday my dear Mary,
Happy Birthday to you!!!!


I love you bunches!

ps: hug each other for me!

Mary said...

Awww, thanks Mom and Dad!!! :)

Jules~ said...

Hi there Mary...I enjoyed this post so much at the beginning of the month that I thought I'd stop by to see if you had written anything as of late. I pray all is well with you. I love the new look of your blog. It is very creative and artistic.

Mary said...

Welcome back, Jules!!
It's been a hectic month so I haven't had much time to just sit and write out a post. I will definitely have to do that though! I appreciate the encouragement!

david mcmahon said...

I just saw your comment that you've been very busy - do let me know when you post again.