Thursday, July 16, 2015

It's Illegal to Poach in Indiana: A Forgiveness Story

In 1996 I had just earned my undergraduate degree in Psychology and I was working at a mental health center. I remember being tasked with organizing an incentive program for positive behavior in a residential facility. I had purchased a crystal globe that would be passed each week to the winning wing of the house. 

I was trying to explain my grand plan as Wilbur kept getting up and pacing around the room. After unsuccessfully calming him down, I stepped in from of Wilbur as he tried to exit the room and I said, “Wilbur, I need you to sit down.” He shuffled his feet and averted his gaze as he said, “but I need...” It was at that point that I interrupted Wilbur and said, “I don’t care what you need, sit down.” 

I saw the immediate reaction of my words as they slapped him like a physical blow. How we react to others is such a strong indication of the condition of our own reconciliation to a God who can extend forgiveness to us. 

I had to stop that meeting and humble myself in a sincere, desperate effort to let Wilbur know that I valued him, and that my words had been selfish and foolish. I was in need of his forgiveness.  In that moment, Wilbur showed us all how to act, when he took me by the arm, looked into my eyes, and said, “thank you. I forgive you.” I will never forget the power of that moment, when I was restored. 

Yes, our words matter. The words we speak are reflective of our hearts. Our words are evidence of our beliefs. We can’t just go around quoting even the greatest of scriptures if we aren’t living out the meaning of those words. We must be sincere. God knows our hearts. 

Wilbur and I worked together for about 18 months, and he always made my life rich. Our relationship was deeper after that day, and I am so thankful we had the chance for another exchange while cooking dinner one day.

Wilbur had meal prep and I was there to assist him. He kept muttering a phrase under his breath as he walked in a circle in the small kitchen. I stood near the door and said, "Wilbur, what is wrong?" 

His immediate and pressured reply was, "I can't cook this menu!" I said, "What?" He replied, "I can't cook this menu, it's illegal to poach in Indiana!"

I look at the counter and read the printed menu that called for "Poached Eggs."

We enjoyed a great meal of scrambled eggs that night.

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