Who could that be? I was not expecting anyone so I glanced through the curtain. SAM! What was HE doing here?! Too bad my car was in plain sight because now for sure he knew I was home. Sam and I have been on the outs for over 5 months. We started a private spat over some work he had done for me that I thought the quality was low and the price high. Our private spat had started turning public when people would ask me how I liked the job Sam had done---- he didn’t expect me to lie did he?! He returned the favor by telling people what an unreasonable customer I had been and how I had purposely bounced my check to him costing him a few Bank fees as well. I refused to repay the fees because those should just help “cover” the Discount I should have gotten for inferior work. Yep, it had gotten ugly quick. Even our Kids found it hard to hang out together anymore because they tired of the “spy” questions they would get from the “grown-ups” when they each got home.
The pastor preached that we should pray for our enemies. So I prayed for Sam: I prayed God would show him how wrong he was. I prayed God would show people how right I was. I prayed Sam would feel guilty every job he did that he got paid fairly remembering how he had ripped me off. I felt good because I was praying for my Enemy—just somewhere deep in my conscience I knew those were not the prayers that God had in mind.
SO---- What gave Sam the idea that he could just show up at my door?! Funny, before this all started he would not have even known I had a doorbell because we were used to “knocking and walking” right in to each others’ houses. Perhaps he was here to submit another bogus bill for those bank fees. Maybe he was here to tell my kid he was no longer welcomed at his house. Maybe he was going to sue me for losing him some potential customers--- funny how all those thoughts could rush through my mind in just the few seconds it took me to reach the door.
“Sam, I would say I hope you are here on BUSINESS but I can’t figure out what business you would have here anyway!” (It’s always good to get in the first “broadside”.) Sam’s face was twisted a little funny and I saw a tear coming from one corner of his eye. “Steve, I am so sorry. I am here to do the Job over at no cost. I am here to repair everything to your specs because I want to repair our friendship. Please forgive me.”
In that moment I hated Sam more NOW than before. I wanted another insult. I wanted another slight. I wanted another Bill I could tear up in his face. But what I did NOT want was for him to ask for forgiveness! Sure, I may have prayed for this when in my men’s study but that was only 1 to 100 of those other prayers I prayed for God’s retribution on him--- plus what would those guys think of me if they heard the other 99 I prayed. If he was here asking my forgiveness then that meant God had forgiven him – not FAIR! Now God was actually going to expect me to forgive Sam--- not Fair, Not FAIR!
“Sam, you know I have to forgive you BUT I don’t feel like it now. It would have been better if you had come over here to yell at me some more. I think I would have actually handled that better.”
“It’s OK, Steve. I know there needs to be actions behind my confession. You’ll have plenty of chances to forgive me because I will be here the whole next week tearing out and redoing the job I messed up before!” (( :
And Jonah sat on the hillside after having Preached Repentance but all the while Hoping for Retribution. God provided him shade to keep him from burning up on the outside but that was nothing to the burning up on the inside. The worm actually did him a “favor” by killing the plant. It confirmed to Jonah that he had every right to be angry:
GOD has no right forgiving people we don’t want to!!
Pastor Stephen Willoughby
Pastor Steve grew up in Columbia,South America, where his parents served as missionaries for 25 years. After graduating from Capital Bible Seminary, he was invited to serve as Assistant Pastor at FBCP. He has served in that capacity for twenty years before taking on the position of Senior Pastor.