Recently, I went shopping for a new dress. I had and have a few engagements where a new dress seemed appropriate. Those who know me well, know that I am a bargain hunter...while never sacrificing quality, or style. I love this process of finding a diamond in the ruff so to speak. I am good at it...I have plenty of pairs of $20 shoes, $8 shirts, $4 earrings.....so proud of my finds. While my husband would likely argue that I am not in fact saving money by shopping just to "SEE" what I might find...he is probably right....but the occasional "find" has served me well.
I found this incredible Max & Cleo dress on a clearance rack in a department store. Now this dress, though on clearance, still was priced rather high, especially compared to my 'find' standards..but I had a planned budget for this dress hunt, and it still was within the limits. I tried it on..and it was perfect. However, because of it's price, I decided to hold the dress, and make sure to talk it over with Greg. The store clerk took down my name and said that they would hold it until store closing that evening. Great. I spoke with Greg on the phone, and he agreed to pick it up for me on his way home from work. :) I would be busy getting my two oldest boys decked out for football practice while my faithful hubby was hunting down a fabulous dress in the women's dress department of the undisclosed department store. :)
When he arrived there, the store clerk could not find the dress. I had held it under the name 'Rachel' and there was not one to be found. I again gave a description and detailed account of this dress over the phone to my husband, and he reitterated to the ladies helping him. They were on a mouse hunt...searching high and low, all the while frustrating my husband who was anxious to get home and switch gears into football coach mode. But here he was stuck in the womens dress department. I realized that what had probably happened was that the store clerk who 'promised' to hold the dress until close that evening, took one look at me in my duds and baseball cap and thought "SHE..is not coming back, and we don't want to miss today's potential sale on this little Max & Cleo". Smiling politely, she had written my name down and hung the dress with the other holds. Then perhaps placed it back on the racks after a few hours?
After 2 or 3 employees had helped my husband search for the dress,.......tada!!!, there it was on a clearance rack! Just as I had thought. Now, it's possible the store clerk who had originally helped me did no wrong, and this was simply a lack of communication. However, the incident caused me to feel as though she did not trust me and made an assumption that I really did not intend to return and purchase the dress. I felt judged, and mistreated as a customer of the store. If she agreed to hold the dress for me until closing, then please honor that agreement. In the end, the dress was mine, but could have easily been sold to someone else. Now, in future shopping endeavors at this store, and perhaps other stores, I may feel the need to 'make sure' their word is their word, ya know?
About 8 years ago, Greg and I along with our young sons, Jayden who was 3 at the time and Sam 1 year, made a bold move out to the east coast to serve a church that had hired Greg as an associate pastor. We had so much anticipation because up to that point, at least one of us had been a full time student, and Greg had just completed 4 years at North Central in Minneapolis in preparation for pastoral ministry. It wasn't long into his first week when he sat down with the Senior pastor who told him, "Greg, trust is something you earn, you need to prove your trustworthiness to me." This conversation, as well as countless others placed the overarching storm cloud on that experience. He may as well just have said that he was going to be watching, and suspecting, and checking up on, and never believing the best. It was a gut wrenching season of our lives. Without berating our dreadful experience out there, let's just say with no trust ever given from day one, the potential for relationship building and ministry was absent to none. We were there a whopping 5 months before we resigned and left house, job, and ministry with two little boys in tow and no plan of action. The lack of trust infected every possibility. There was assumption, judgement, and mistreatment. God is so good however, that what was intended for our harm, God used for our good. He took care of us. He has restored our hearts through the power of forgiveness, and used the experience to create a deeper compassion in us for others, and a deeper passion for who He is.
I am realizing more and more how trust and love go hand in hand. If I say I love someone or that I am a loving person, there needs to be freedom in my relationships. Freedom to allow them speak the truth. Freedom to let them be who they are. Freedom to let them go and do, always believing the best. Freedom to take them at their word. Now, all this to say, when someone has breached trust in a relationship , there are new boundaries and expectations that need to be put in place. It's never ok to become a doormat to someones inability to be trustworthy. However, forgiveness and a second & third chance is consistent with the kingdom of God, and this response brings the freedom to my, and others lives that God intended.
I've been listening to many pod casts lately as I do my housework, or workouts. Just the other day listened to a sermon titled "Unoffendable". The take away from this was 'Don't let sin against you, become sin in you'. Powerful!!! In other words, not allowing what someone else did, shake or rock me and who I am by causing me to act out of revenge, spite, or unforgiveness. I know from my own experiences, that it breeds assumption, judgement, and mistreatment of people. Where these things exsist, there is not freedom. Potential and opportunities are lost.
Life hurts, I hurt people, people hurt me. This is hard and no fun. My human nature wants justice. More than that however, my inner man desires freedom by living in love and trust towards others, and letting God bring justification if needed.
BTW - I will still be shopping at undisclosed department store. I have forgiven undisclosed store clerk. :)
http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/heartland-assembly/id355157750 ...look for title "Unoffendable"