And what if the real reason you crossed paths with that person whether for a moment, an hour, a day, a week, a year, or a lifetime wasn’t an accident, a mistake, or for the purpose of you getting offended or hurt, wounded or beaten up, bruised or damaged, stomped on and trampled under, or left in the dirt of the dust? What if the reason your life intersected with this person wasn’t about your being the victim, but about an opportunity you have spent much, if not most, of your life missing?
What if one day you opened up your eyes, and wrenched open your heart, and cast away your hurts and your troubles and your disappointments and your discouragement and your pain and your self-pity and your victim mentality and got an angel’s eye view from heaven of a brand new opportunity you could spend the rest of your life taking advantage of?
What if you were driving down the road one day just like I was only days ago to find that you had a whole new vantage point, so new and so wildly different than you could ever imagine, that you decided to spend the rest of your life with this one thought in mind?
So now I get it. Now I see. Now I understand. Now I realize what I missed. Now I realize what I will for the rest of my life have. Opportunities that didn’t look like opportunities. Chances that didn’t look like changes. Possibilities that didn’t look like possibilities. Potential that didn’t look like potential. Open doors that looked like doors shut in my face.
It all comes down to this. What if. What if for the rest of my life every person who ever hurts me is an opportunity for me to be a vessel for God to pour His love through? What if every time someone offends me I have the potential for God to use me to pour His mercy through? What if every time someone harasses me, lashes out at me, annoys me, rubs me the wrong way, bothers me, makes me wait, takes something from me, doesn’t consider me, rejects me, abandons and mistreats and abuses me, what if I let God use me to pour His forgiveness through?
What if the real reason I am in those people’s lives isn’t so I can be a victim, but so I can be a vessel? What if every one of these people needs Jesus? What if they need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached? What if they need to see with their eyes the Gospel in action? What if they need to see Jesus for real? What if they need to learn about the Bible? What if they need someone to pray for them? What if they need to hear how God transformed my life?
What if the very people I have spent most of my life resenting, at least until I forgave them, turn out to be the answer to my prayer that God would use me? What if instead of hating I chose to love? And instead of hurting them, I chose to help them? What if instead of shutting my mouth, I chose to open it in love? What if instead of loving less, and loving worse, I chose to love more, and chose to love better?
What if? So two days ago, I prayed the boldest prayer of my life. I prayed this. I prayed that God would help me for the rest of my life, no matter how long or short He gives me to remain on this earth alive and breathing, that He would help me to see my opportunities. And to take Him up on them. To put into action His love. To tell the person hurting me about Jesus Christ. To pray for them. To bless them. To love them. To give to them.
Not the easy ones. The hard ones. The company that messes up my work. The person who should help me and won’t. The person who abuses another. The person who ruined years of my life, or so I thought. The person who won’t give me what I want. The person who hates me. The person who talks behind my back. The person who gets in my way. All the people I ever would have turned my back upon.
So I prayed. And already He has answered. Already I am tested. Am I serious? I am. As serious as I have ever been about the boldest prayer I have ever spoken. This isn’t merely about loving and forgiving. That’s the obvious for a believer in Jesus. This isn’t merely about believing. This is about following. This is about denying me, putting away my selfish desires, and taking up my own little cross, and being a follower.
This is about putting an end to missed opportunities, and choosing to stop missing them. This is about what if. What if I don’t stop at loving and forgiving. This is about being a vessel for Jesus in a lost, a dying, a broken, a desperate, world in dire straits.
Will you join me?
27“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. 30Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful andto the evil. 36Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Luke 27-26 KJV