Just perfect

Forgiveness and Justice

I have a really hard time with unresolvable situations. About 11 years ago, my husband and I faced incredibly stressful circumstances. We had a toddler and a baby and my husband had just left his job. It was horrible. He had been working for a money carrier for 6 years. He made deliveries, and kept track of money going in and out of the vault. A $1500, “piece” had gone missing on a night that he was on duty in the vault. He had told me about it the night it happened and he even mentioned how worried he was when he got home that night. He didn’t know if some calculation was wrong or if there was an error in a delivery amount. He was stressed and it ate at him. I honestly shrugged it off figuring they would figure it out and it would be fine. A couple weeks later, it was not fine. It was anything but fine.

Our family had caught a stomach bug that had turned us all inside out. I mean, that kind of sick where you can visualize a lung exiting your mouth when you vomit. We were all down and out. My husband Aaron, got a call from work that they needed him to come in for a meeting. Aaron practically drug himself out the door and drove in to work. About 2 hours later, Aaron called me. His normally steady voice was strained and fighting emotion. He said, “Amy remember that $1500 piece that went missing? They are saying I took it. I don’t know what to do. They have a guy here who is saying they can take me to jail and that I have to take a lie detector test.” His breathing was fast and scared. That alone shook me to the core. Aaron has always been collected and stoic. The mere fact that he was this worried, caused major fear in me. I remember a brief moment of panic rising in my chest. Suddenly I heard a voice that pierced my conscience like only God’s voice can. God said, “Amy, he needs you to be strong. Be strong.” A clarity and determination gripped me and I collected myself before responding. I told Aaron, “Just tell them the truth. We know you didn’t do it. It’s going to be okay. We will figure this out.” He told me he had to go, he loved me, and then he hung up.

This moment starts one of the longest 2 hours of my life. I called my in laws immediately and told them what was going on and threw my pukey self into the shower so I could be ready for whatever else could be included in this sudden nightmare. I felt panic so high in my chest that it felt like I could barely breathe. My throat felt closed and my heart began racing. I knew Aaron was innocent. To be honest, it never even crossed my thoughts that he could have ever stolen that money. We’d been married for 4 years and known each other for many years before that. I knew him well enough to know that his integrity was stellar. My prayers came out in snotty blubbering sobs, whimpers and begging. I am so glad our young boys were down for a nap and I could fall apart before God without distressing them. I was so worked up that my hands shook so bad I couldn’t get shampoo bottles open, and I was dropping things. It’s an odd moment to mentally note the genius of putting soap on a rope, but hey our brains are amazing organs. We can simultaneously have a nervous breakdown and mentally note the fabulous invention of someone else and a sudden need for it. During a moment of terror and thinking of the story of Joseph,  (coat of many colors Joseph) and how he was imprisoned for 7 years and was innocent…I cried out, “God, please PLEASE don’t let Aaron go to jail for something he didn’t do?!” A brief sanity gripped me, and I thought, Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It calmed me and helped me collect myself. I still spent all of the next couple hours in prayer. If we hadn’t already been so sick with empty stomachs, I think the stress would have made me puke again.

I got a call from one of Aaron’s coworkers. She told me they had Aaron in a room with some investigator and they were blaming him and pushing him to admit to taking this money. She told me, “Amy, I know he is innocent, he would never do that. I can’t believe they are doing this to him.” She told me she would call me back if they had police arrest him or anything, and we got off the phone. A few minutes later she called and told me she didn’t know what was going on, but they were letting Aaron go home.

I waited nervously for him, but it was killing me and I wanted to be with him right that moment. I went out in front of our house and sat on the curb waiting for him to get home. I finally spotted his car rounding the corner into our neighborhood. He pulled up and threw open the door. He grabbed me and we just hugged each other for a couple minutes. We didn’t talk until he had both of our boys in his lap. His normally stoic poise was cracked and he had tears streaming down his face. He said they had let him come home but it was with threats that they were going to try to prove he took the money and we had signed over all of our accounts so they could investigate our money transactions.

My husband is a stinking honey badger. He has a level of tough grit that would make a professional septic pumper wince. He went to work every day after that with a determination and confidence that God would sort this out. His company couldn’t fire him because he was innocent and they had no proof other than the fact that he had been in the vault the night it went missing. We needed his income, so Aaron worked for another 2 weeks and endured the judgements forming around him.  It infuriated me that his boss never spoke up for him. I was equally as disgusted that Aaron had to endure such horrible treatment from a company that he had worked so hard for. There was a point one day when I felt like God told me that Aaron had to quit. We’d found out his company was determined to pin down a guy to take the fall for this, because they would lose a huge account if they didn’t. The business who was short the money, had told his company that if they didn’t find out who did it and fire them, they would pull their account.  It was clear at that moment, that they were in a bad spot and determined to point a finger at Aaron or it would cost them tremendously. We decided he needed to resign. That is all a long story, but I will sum it up quickly now.

Aaron was innocent, he was without a job for 10 months. It was a grueling, stressful and scary time. He struggled hugely with his worth as a man and constant rejection at application after application falling through, that I could feel how broken he was inside. He never gave up though, and he continued to ask God for help. He was finally hired by another company who liked him and treated him great and offered him a management position and gave glowing recommendations when it came to Aaron applying for a police department. Several months after that, he was hired on a PD after taking a lie detector test and he became a police officer. Yeah…from being accused of stealing to cop. Only God could swing that as miraculously as He did. We found out about a year after that, that Aaron’s old boss who was part of this accusation of theft, had been arrested for money embezzlement. It’s all coming together now isn’t it? Yeah, that was a bitter pill to swallow, but the outcome was good. I believe that eventually all things will be brought to light.

Ephesians 5:11-13

11. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

12.For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

13. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

Justice is a fickle thing by earthly standards. Sometimes it feels certain atrocities never receive justice, or when they do, it doesn’t seem to be nearly enough. Some justice is never served on this earth. It’s something that only God can sort out in eternity. I have seen some situations receive what seems to be their due justice. Other situations, I still wait for justice to be served.

My husband lost a good friend a couple years ago. He was murdered on the job. Shot through the forehead before he ever even got out of his patrol car. He had been baited by gang members who had decided to, “kill a cop tonight.” He was a good man by earthly standards. He had pulled over to help. He had been baited by the gang members flashing their headlights.

A family from my church had their son murdered. A friend still struggles with head injury symptoms because an intoxicated person hit him with a car, while he was on the job. Children are abused. Governments are dirty. I and thousands of others have been crippled by a pharmaceutical. The dirt associated with these antibiotics, has been swept under a rug so many times that the mound could rival Everest’s elevation. There is no magic cure. Christians are being massacred in enormous genocide in the middle east and the media barely mentions it, and reports more on Kanye’s latest tweet. These things and much more, beg for justice.

I trust that God is just. I’ve watched him take my husband from the career depths of being accused of stealing at a dead end job, to proving his innocence and raising him up to have just celebrated 10 years of service as a police officer. That feels like some justice. It didn’t take away the suffering we endured as a family and the valley Aaron had to walk through during that time, but I believe that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I couldn’t make a pharmaceutical company and the FDA pay a lick of attention and amplify the warnings of Fluoroquinolones. I even found myself stuck when it came to any legal recourse because they had issued a warning vaguely mentioning tendon rupture. They are so protected it’s nearly impossible to touch them; However…I bet they didn’t forsee a blog post talking about the risks of Fluoroquinolones logging nearly 10 million views. I bet that didn’t send their sales soaring. I’m not their favorite person right now. That’s okay. God afforded me the one thing I want the most, I wanted the opportunity to spread the warning so this won’t happen to even more people. I am so thankful for that.  I could have never done that by myself! Only God could have done that. It even put me in touch with other people who were on this mission even before I was. Together we can keep spreading awareness. At least we can warn others. That feels like a piece of justice. It doesn’t fix our handicaps or restore lost time, but God has a greater plan and this world isn’t the end of it.

Justice is not ours to implement. Patience is, and so is trust. We have to trust God’s assessment of the whole situation and the souls in it, and His timing in serving up Justice.

James 4:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

We can’t judge any situation with 100% accuracy because we can’t read minds, judge hearts, and be all knowing. Only God can judge the hearts

Ecclesiastes 3:17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

1st Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

God will judge. Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

I remember passing money trucks from Aaron’s old employer while he was unemployed and we were struggling. I remember feeling a disgust more bitter that bile. I hated seeing those trucks. It was a constant reminder of the wrong we had been dealt. I fought those feelings. I remember reading something that I saw during that time. It said, “Resentment, anger, hate, or blame, is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” That is so true. This anger festers like hot embers and only burns the soul that housed it down.  It torments. Just look at satan. He is the reigning king of resentment, and in the end, he only has gained an eternity of torment. Well, that made me pretty much feel gross. I really had to stop allowing myself to look at this corporation as a hoard of faceless, soulless, and mindless dummies. These were people with struggles and faults and fears too. They may have dealt us a serious wrong, but I really in all honesty, had no idea what their thoughts and motivations held. I could never deal with them justly, because I am not God.

Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Yeah, that way is way better than mine. I do want God’s just judgement. I also desperately need His mercy, and if I want that, I have to be able to extend it.

Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Mathew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you

Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive yourtrespasses.

Mathew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

2nd Corinthians 2:10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;

Mathew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yourtrespasses.

Well, I don’t think it could be said any plainer than that except, “Amy, if you want to be forgiven, you better forgive those who wrong you, or you won’t be forgiven.”

But…but…they aren’t even sorry and they don’t give a flying dog turd about me…and they haven’t had to change anything!? This is so hard! I have to forgive them even if they are never sorry!? “Even if they do it 70X70 more.” Even if they throw 70X7 more dog turds. That = 490 more flying dog turds! That’s putting up with a whole load of poop from our enemies.

Mathew 18:21- 35

21.Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

22.Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

23.Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

24.And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

25.But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

26.The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

27.Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

28.But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

29.And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

30.And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

31.So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

32.Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

33.Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

34.And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

35.So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Forgiveness is hard, but what’s harder, is not being forgiven for my own sins. The truth is that constantly waiting for justice to be served on our enemies, only keeps us consumed and obsessed with the past. It steals peace from our present and our future, and we shouldn’t hand that to our enemies too.

Forgiveness, and the acceptance of our inability to serve up justice, brings us peace and the ability to move on, by breaking our chains. We are no longer chained down waiting for the score to be evened. We are no longer chained in the prison the devil has so happily placed us in. We can be ransomed by the God who breaks our chains and affords us the forgiveness that none of us have ever deserved. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it is the key to the door of God’s grace and mercy in forgiveness of our own sins as well. That door holds behind it, an eternity of immeasurable happiness and peace.

Only perfection can be pure and just. Only God is perfect and good.

Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven

Judgement

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Just perfect

  1. Amy, this is powerful! Isn’t it amazing the way God works in our lives to bring about His will for us?
    Oh, I understand only too well all about having to forgive when you have been truly hurt and/or
    misunderstood. But God always has our backs even when we don’t understand what He is doing.
    Your story glorifies Him and His faithfulness! There was a couple of sentences about forgiveness
    that really spoke to me so I copied them down. Thank you for sharing your life with people so we
    can be so encouraged!

    Like

    1. I am so glad Jacqueline! I am always so glad to know that God has everything in His control. I have to remind myself of this often. The grand plan of His is the most important and He knows what is needed and never ceases to be faithful. He is always looking to gain our souls and He wants us to have peace in knowing He has everything handled. Sharing testimonies always reninds me of this. I love hearing the witnesses of others. It helps me.

      Like

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. It is a good reminder that the Lord is always at work in our lives, even in the middle of injustice. I think often of the story of Joseph and how defeated he must have felt when betrayed, falsely accused, enslaved, forgotten, etc… yet he refused to become bitter. Your family’s journey has similar parallels … by enduring and waiting on God, you are allowing other to see that there is hope even in the darkest of situations.

    Like

  3. Guess God wanted to impress the importance of Forgiveness for me in my own life. For my own part, I can say it is a supreme challenge, but one I truly want to heed. Thank you for sharing so boldly and humanly your life challenges

    Like

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