Ask the Father to soften your heart and to extend love when you encounter hatred.
Harden not your heart .... —Psalm 95:8 (kjv)
I was sick and tired of certain e-mails that made their way into my in-box. The one before me now was a blistering untruth about a public figure who had spent much of her life advocating for the poor, especially women in need. But now she was running for office, and her opponents were intent on destroying her good name.
Who in the world had the nerve to send this to me? I checked the Sender box and found the name Martha. I don’t even know a Martha. The very nerve! Without thinking, I dashed out a reply and hit Send. “Are you crazy?” I wrote. “I don’t know you and I don’t appreciate your sending me such a terrible e-mail.”
I can’t find words that come close to describing the humiliation I felt the next morning when I found Martha’s reply on my computer screen. “It’s me, Martha. You wrote to me after I sent the money for your project in Africa. I’m sorry if I upset you.”
Oh, dear God, I was half-thinking, half-praying. I remember now ... Martha was a poor elderly woman living in government housing and barely surviving on Social Security! She had sent me a crumpled five-dollar bill some months before “to help with the poor children.”
For the rest of the day, Martha sat heavy in my heart. She probably thought she was being helpful, sending the e-mail to me! My response had been hateful. All I wanted now was a second chance to be decent.
First, I e-mailed a request for forgiveness. Martha didn’t hesitate in her response, and soon we were exchanging notes as if we were best friends. She shared stories of her Italian heritage and sent me recipes. I was able to reciprocate with shipments of fresh fruit and a warm shawl.
I didn’t try to fix Martha’s habit of forwarding awful e-mails; I just didn’t open them. Instead, I spent my second chance filling her in-box with love.
Father, soften my heart so that I might counter hatred with love. —Pam Kidd
Digging Deeper: Prv 28:13–14; Ez 36:26