Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

LEGACY OF FRIENDS’S STORIES 1: Matthew’s Miracle

June 16, 2018

On Saturday evening May 26, 2018, our son, Matthew,

and I were praying prior to him saying goodnight. When we concluded, he put his arms around me and said, “My wallet slipped out somewhere. I hope that you can forgive me.” When I asked him when he had last remembered having it, he told me, “at the library book sale”–that was on May 6th! So I assured him that he didn’t need to apologize, that I was sorry that had happened to him, and we would buy him a new wallet. However, as he restlessly paced in his room, I realized that he was agitated and unhappy. I said goodnight to him and told him I would see him in the morning.

After I left his room, I began to pray, “Lord, where is Matthew’s wallet?” I believe that Jesus put the thought in my mind, “Check with the movie theater.” Well, he and his dad had been to a couple of movies in May, but this seemed unlikely. The following afternoon I detoured from our list of errands and stopped at the theatre. Matthew asked why we were there. I told him I wanted to ask if the cleaning people had found his wallet or if someone had turned one in.

I spoke with one of the managers, explained the situation, and was surprised when she admitted that a man’s wallet had been found. I also shared that Matthew had been at the theatre recently, but that he is autistic and doesn’t have a sense of timing. Thus, he may have lost it on May 24th or Friday two weeks prior. The manager began to ask questions to determine if I could identify the wallet, such as the colour, brand name, and contents. I knew there would be no ID card in the wallet, which complicated things. Eventually, after a number of questions, I was able to relay that there should be at least 2-$20 dollar bills in it, and pointed out that if Matthew could see the wallet, he would know whether or not it was his and would not say it was his if it wasn’t.  To reinforce that truth, I recounted that our son had recently found a wallet that was not his and had promptly returned the wallet to its owner.

As I called Matthew over to the office, the manager immediately recognized him and said, “He’s one of our regular customers.” She was holding the wallet in a way that we couldn’t see it and asked the names and times of the movies that Matthew had recently seen. I provided the requested information and she seemed satisfied. When she passed the wallet to Matthew, his whole countenance changed. He had been so upset and out-of-sorts. Instantly, he was smiling broadly as he shook the manager’s hand and thanked her for taking good care of his wallet and keeping it safe for him! The manager apologized that she had to ask so many questions, but she needed to make sure the wallet was going to its rightful owner. I thanked her profusely, pointing out that she had just made Matthew’s day!

Later, at the car, I said to Matthew that I had prayed to God about his lost wallet. I also told him that God put the idea in my mind to check at the movie theater. I said, “Isn’t it great that God helped them find your wallet and keep it safe for you, and did you say thank you to Him?” He agreed, and then he prayed, “God, thank you for keeping my wallet safe and getting it back to me. Amen.”

What a faith builder for both of us! Thank You, Jesus: This is the year of the favour of the Lord…” (Isaiah 61: 1-3)!  Hallelujah!

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk

Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)

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Some Mistakes Endear Us

January 29, 2013

A few days ago, my stepson texted me to let me know he had made a serious and potentially dangerous mistake on the job. He had dropped a piece of metal strut through a knockout into a live 480/277-volt electrical panel. Fortunately, the piece blew itself off the lug and welded onto the metal can housing the panel, and no one was harmed, nor was any equipment damaged. A little time and peace of mind was lost, and the piece of metal ruined—but that is peanuts compared to what could have happened. (He had previously had cardboard on top, but had moved it for some reason and neglected to put it back.) At first he was hesitant to share with the foreman (who was away at the time) and cleaned it up.

But because he has seen me make serious and sometimes costly mistakes (one that cost our company insurance $16K when the entire gross on the job was only $5K; another where I drilled into a water line and damaged the customer’s drawings which had to be presented the next day, causing him to spend the night re-configuring, and costing us over $1K for his time), he was willing to tell me. (And after sharing the first comment below via text and speaking with him shortly thereafter, he did go on to tell the foreman, who in turn told me some of the mistakes he had made.)

Almost immediately, I had a thought: Sometimes our mistakes make us memorable to those who care about us, give them compassion, free them to share their own mistakes, and ultimately create positive memories as they bond us together. I made a very costly mistake a few years back based on bad judgment of someone’s character, and we are still re-couping. And just yesterday, our bookkeeping department found out (after agonizing calculations) that we had overcharged a customer about 3% on a huge job, which we are crediting back on the next invoice, along with an honest explanation of why.

Ultimately, we will be known by at least two things: our successes, especially in relationships; and our mistakes. But sometimes what appears to be a mistake can be a blessing in disguise—consider, e.g., “Seward’s Folly,” the purchase of territory which is now Alaska, surely a blessing to the USA in many ways. King David’s mistake of adultery with Bathsheba (and murder of her husband Uriah) gave us Solomon, who comparatively for his day was probably wealthier than Bill Gates and Warren Buffet combined, and whose wisdom is beyond legendary; the Lord even gave Solomon a special nickname, Jedediah (“beloved by Yah”), and David’s subsequent humility was another blessing, resulting in many of the Psalms being written (notably Psalm 51).

And the mistakes of others can allow us to forgive, which is a blessing of release of bitterness: As someone has wisely said, “Holding onto unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Bitterness undealt-with will eat away at us like battery acid, and can ultimately kill us.

It can be argued that not all mistakes are blessings, and I think that may be true on a microcosmic scale. But from an eternal perspective, they must somehow all be blessings, since “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NAS) And the Old Testament patriarch Joseph was able to tell his brothers his matured perspective on their perfidy in selling him into enslavement in Egypt, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20 NAS) Even the devil serves God’s purposes, albeit unwillingly and unintentionally—as in the case of Job’s trials and both Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness and his betrayal by Judas, to bring about salvation through the crucifixion—surely one of the greatest travesties in history.

The greatest determiner on the microcosmic scale is whether we can somehow advance toward the macrocosmic—whether intentionally or not, over time, and in light of eternity. How we view mistakes determines whether they are good or bad, beneficial or harmful, in the short term.

So how are you viewing your mistakes? How about those of others?

I told the bookkeeper, “It’s NOT a mistake. It’s a chance to operate ethically and do what is right. Ultimately, it will bring in MORE business, not less.” And I truly believe that.