“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good – Romans 12:20, 21
I’m looking at a photo of Jenn which was taken last summer. It’s hard to believe that we were once enemies. We used to work together but for some reason, she didn’t like me. I didn’t do anything for her to take such a disliking to me and it bothered me because I’m a Christian and the Bible says that we should try to get along with people as much as possible. I try to get along with everybody but for some reason I couldn’t with Jenn. She wouldn’t talk to me. And when she did it was in a condescending manner.
She made snide remarks about my hair which was natural and cut short. I got tired of putting chemicals in it so I decided to cut it off. Everyone else said it suited me but she seemed to have a problem with it. She criticized my clothes, the way I talked, my food and even my laugh. She was always finding fault and I was getting tired of it. She never did these things when other people were around.
She saw me reading my Bible one day in the cafeteria during my afternoon break. “I suppose you think you’re better than the rest of us because you’re a Christian,” she remarked. “You’re all a bunch of hypocrites. You don’t practice what you preach.”
I calmly met her stare and replied, “You’re right. Not everyone who says they are a Christian are. Reading the Bible or going to church doesn’t make a person a Christian.”
She looked surprised by my answer. For a few minutes she stared at me and then, she walked away. I continued my reading until my break was over. Several times after that, she came over to me while I was taking my break and made nasty remarks about my religion. Sometimes, I ignored her and she went away and other times, I answered her in a calm manner and that seemed to get her more riled up and she would stomp off.
I prayed to God about the situation because it was unpleasant. I thought of transferring to another department but decided not to. I shouldn’t run away from my problem but try to deal with it with God’s help. I told my husband, Matt about it and he said that I should settle the matter once and for all with Jenn. I told him that if I talked to her about it, things might get ugly and the last thing I wanted was a confrontation.
Then, one afternoon I was on my way home when I saw Jenn standing at the bus-stop. It was a very cold day and it would soon get dark. I pulled up to the curb and got out of the car. I hurried over to her. She looked startled and not at all pleased to see me. “Can I give you a ride home?”
She looked like she was about to refuse when the man in the shelter said, “If you’re waiting for the No. 23, you just missed it. The next one won’t be here until a quarter to.”
“It’s cold and I have heat in my car,” I told her. “And it’s no bother for me.” I knew that it was only through the working of the Holy Spirit that I was able to show kindness to a woman who never had anything good to say to or about me.
Grudgingly, she accepted my offer and walked over to my car. After she got in, I pulled away from the curb. She told me where she lived which was about a half-hour drive if you take the expressway which I did. “My car is in the shop,” she explained.
“When will you get it back?”
“I can give you a lift to work until then, if you like.”
She glanced at me. For a brief moment I could see that she was taken aback by my offer. “Why are you doing this?” she asked.
“I used to take the bus before I bought a car so I know what it’s like to stand in the cold bus shed and wait. Besides, it’s no trouble for me to pick you up in the morning.”
“Sure. If you want to.”
“I do,” I said.
She didn’t answer. For the rest of the trip, there was silence, except for the radio. When we got to her apartment, she turned to me. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome. So, would you like me to pick you up tomorrow morning?”
“All right. I’ll be here at eight.”
She thrust open the door and climbed out. She walked up to the entrance and disappeared through the revolving doors.
I pulled out of the parking lot and drove home. When I told Matt what happened, he said quoted Paul’s words in the Bible about doing good to your enemy and in doing so, you make him ashamed. “Well, we’ll see if anything changes,” I said.
The next morning I arrived at Jenn’s condo building and she was waiting in the lobby. She came outside as soon as she saw me. After we said good morning to each other, the rest of the ride to work was in silence. It was like that one the way home that afternoon and the next day but on Friday, when I dropped her off at the shop to pick up her car, she said to me, “You’ve been so nice to me when I have been nothing but mean to you. And I was wrong about Christians. You’re one of the good ones. You showed kindness to me when you didn’t have to. Thank you.”
I smiled. “You’re welcome. I was happy to be of help. Any time you need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask.”
For the first time since I’ve worked with her, she smiled at me. “The same goes for you, Jazma.”
“Thanks. Have a good weekend.”
The following Monday, she joined me in the cafeteria when I was on my break and she asked me questions about the Bible. From that moment, we became friends. And, she’s the godmother of Matt’s and my first child. We’re expecting our second in August. Great things happen when we apply God’s Word to our lives.