"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
Paul laid these words down on "paper" about 1950 years ago. This morning, I read them once again, and was struck by the simplicity of this statement. To me, the truth behind these words lies within the state of our minds, as directed by our heart.
I do not think it is possible for me to witness this in my life in my current state of mind. Yesterday, I was grossly affected by the circumstances I found myself in at the jobsite. It seemed as though nothing went according to plan, and I was constantly at the mercy of the trades who had come before me; trying to make shoddy work look good.
That's what I do, as a finish carpenter. I make rough carpentry look like finished carpentry. It''s not easy sometimes, especially when what I have to work with at the start isn't exactly what I would consider to be professional work.
However, it is my job to make anything, and I mean anything, look good. I know this, and I understand it. So why was I so affected yesterday? Why was I so angry with what I found? Why was I not able to simply accept what I found as a matter of course, and do my job without internally whining?
I do not often let myself be affected by the circumstances I find myself in on any jobsite, but for some reason, yesterday I was angry. Knowing what my job is, I should not have been; but there it is, I was what I was.
There is grace for me in this, and at this moment, I have found grace to give to those who came before me, to those who for some reason did not accomplish their task the way they were supposed to. I did not accomplish my task yesterday the way I was supposed to either. It's never easier to give grace than when we falter in our own misconceptions, and are given the miracle of recognizing that.
I cannot explain why I was so affected, nor can I explain why the work I found before me was not done well, why it caused more labor than should have been necessary. It looks like I am in the same boat as those with whom I was angry yesterday.
My state of mind is changing; grace is overcoming evil with good. Today, it means more to me than it did yesterday.