Last saturday, as I walked into the facility I work at on a very part time basis, I was met by one of the therapy aides who was scheduled to work that day. I have worked with him before, and found that he is a very strong christian man. He's the type of christian that some people may not understand, in that he lives his christianity on his sleeve, it envelopes everything about him, and it's as if every move he makes is guided by the Lord. I was intrigued to meet such a young man with a such a walk with the God. He does his job with joy and enthusiasm, always smiling, and always willing to help. He is extremely courteous, and most of all, unwilling to let someone cross his path without finding out if they are a saved christian, or not. His boldness and openness about Jesus was refreshing. Each time I have worked with him, I became more and more impressed with him, as he truly was carrying out his christianity in a way I don't often see... ever. Admittedly, not even in myself.
On occasion I have worked with him and a few of the other employees there together. Over a short while, I began to see something very disturbing. The supervisor over this dept. and the other therapy aide treat this man terribly. At first I thought I was somehow hearing things or seeing things wrongly...because I just couldn't fathom how anyone could possibly mistreat this person, one of the most kind people I have ever known. It made no sense. I witnessed it again, and again, and then overheard some other therapists talking about it as well, recounting how these two people are very mean to him. I actually witnessed one of them yelling angrily at him over something very small. It shocked me. I have never worked in an environment with such angry, seemingly very mean people. It was hard to believe, and especially that he was their target.
I began to devise a plan. I would find a way to talk to him one on one. I wanted him to know how disturbed I was and that he should not put up with such mistreatment. I wanted to share that if and when he was ready to leave this place of employment, that he could use me as a reference. I honestly didn't understand how he could work under this type of treatment and complete lack of even basic respect. I didn't end up having that opportunity for awhile, until last saturday.
That morning as he was talking about what the Lord was doing in his life, and sharing stories of others around him that were coming to Christ, how he and his wife open up their home to neighbors and anyone that needs help, I finally shared with him a little about what I have observed. I shared that I was concerned for him. I honestly wanted to tell him to just give them a peice of his mind, and quit. I mean, how he endures that type of treatment in his workplace, where he works so hard to do what is right, and what is asked of him, was beyond me. He has a true servants heart. I know I wouldn't put up with it, and I would not have lasted a day if they treated me even slightly the way I have seen him treated.
What came out of his mouth next is what changed me, and what has stuck with me, in the back of my mind since this conversation over a week ago. He said that first of all, he brought it to prayer. He also explained that first and foremost, he gets up early each day, spending time in prayer, in God's word, so that the holy spirit will build him up, give him wisdom, and prepare him for anything that he might come up against that day. Secondly, he took this issue to his mentor, stating how important it is that we all have a spirtual mentor in our lives to go to for Godly wisdom and counsel, as well as prayer. I agreed. Then, he shared something with me that struck me to the core. He explained that one day he got a call at home from one of these two employees. She was immediately screaming and yelling at him over the phone about some paperwork that she thought he should have completed the day before. I believe this, because I have witnessed her yelling at him over the phone in the past, and was always amazed at his ability to handle it. Instead of defending himself in any way, he told me that he responded in love. In love...! He actually said to her in the most gentle and kind voice that he was sorry, and he asked for her forgiveness. But that's not all...he then told her that he is striving to be as good of an employee as she is and that he is hoping he will someday be as organized and as professional as she is. He ended by asking her once again if she would forgive him!!! And her response? She calmly said, "I forgive you." His wisdom is apparent, as he also explained to me that he knows this anger is not really about him, and that there must be something going on within them, that causes them to treat him that way. He said there are hurts they are dealing with that they have not resolved and healed. Again, I agreed.
I can tell you, that if it was me she was talking to, I would have been so offended and so angry that she thought she had any right to talk to me that way, that I would not have handled it well. I am sure I would have attempted to defend myself, and probably would have ended up very frustrated, and hot tempered myself. So hearing these words come out of his mouth, and knowing that he truly did handle it in that way was a lifechanging, profound and humbling moment for me. The best way I can describe it is that I felt the presence of God right then and there. I saw a man humbly walking out his faith the way all of us that call ourselves christians should be. I saw someone taking the gospel seriously, and not relying on their own emotions and actions to dictate how they would handle a situation.
I saw Jesus.
I actually felt that maybe, just maybe I would someday be able to respond in love, the way he did, to someone who is lashing out unfairly at me. It's not my nature, and it's the one thing that I have had the hardest time changing since becoming a christian many years ago. I was blessed by his willingness to share how the Lord was working through him in this tough situation, and how he continues to thank the Lord for this job, and work at it daily, serving those around him. I was blessed to see true christianity right before my eyes.
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