Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
I have seen versions of the Paradoxical Commandments many times in the last several years. It has taken on new meaning in the last couple of weeks. I will not get into all the details, they are irrelevant, but I have been disappointed and rejected in a way that has cost me a great deal of time and money by someone I felt led to help. Interestingly, I don't feel angry. I just feel disappointed and sad. The Enemy has even tried (and almost succeeded) to use this to harden my heart and give me a sense of hopelessess about the hurt in this world. Why am I even trying?
I want to be wiser in future situations, but I don't want to become cynical. I must admit the experience has left me a bit harder. I fear I'll be far less extravagant with my love the next time a situation like this arises. My pride is screaming, 'Why are you such a sucker?" Meanwhile my heart hurts that the person in my life is still lost, lonely and in trouble.
I have been feeling foolish. Yesterday, the Lord used a good friend to remind me that I prayed a lot before taking action...that others also prayed fervently. I am reminded that many times we do not get to see how our actions impact others. We are merely sowing seeds.
Service, giving, love, obedience...it would all be so much easier if we were able to somehow see the fruit immediately and were able to celebrate the results of our toil and sacrifice. It wouldn't really be about obedience to Christ then though, would it? It would be about making ourselves feel better: a selfish, wrong motive.
So, here I sit licking my wounds, praying about a right perspective and reflecting on Romans 12.
"If you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face. Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder."
(Romans 12:7-13 The Message)