Please read the above link prior to reading this post.
I once walked in very dark places. I went through a time in my life where I saw myself through the eyes of men. I put too much hope in relationships that weren't good for me. I put too much hope in places that produced no fruit and places, of the mind and heart, that brought no joy.
I turned my back on Jesus. I thought He was done with me. I saw how I had often asked him for peace and comfort. I would receive that peace and comfort, yet continue reaching for what I thought was best for my life. Without concern for what was truly best.
We often think we have it all figured out. We often think we know all the answers. But how empty and unfulfilled are we when we walk in darkness. How many times do we have to stumble before we ever truly reach out for the Light?
I stumbled many times, it seems. I always tried to find ways to justify my behaviour. But is darkness ever justified? No. A big, Loud, Resounding NO!
There was a time when much was being stolen from me. So much. Not only in a metaphorical sense, ..things were taken from me in a very literal way. Someone I knew was suffering from an addiction and would literally wipe out my bank account. I would work tirelessly only to find my efforts wasted. I didn't realize at the time that I didn't have to put up with this sort of treatment.
I didn't realize that I was worth much. I saw myself the way I thought others saw me. Worthless.
I began to act out of anger. I took things that didn't belong to me. Not from people I knew. But from a few, what I thought were "faceless corporations." It wasn't much that I took, but I still took some things.
I acted in great anger towards the person that was stealing from me. I hated him! I hated his dog. I hated him so much that I hated things and people often associated with him. I hated!
I saw other people who had taken a few things, I was suicidal back then, and I followed suit..
This phase didn't last long, Thank God! But I can see how a lost person could become so easily influenced. I followed like a sheep to the slaughter. I walked the wide path. The path that ends in death.
I don't recognize that person anymore. I didn't like her. I wanted her dead. She produced nothing of goodness. She was hurt so badly...and her hurt, the fog of her very real depression, brought forth nothing.
When I became a Christian, Jesus showed me something. He showed me that He had forgiven me of all my ugliness. But He also showed me one very important truth.
There is always time to right a wrong. Always!
So I went to the store. I got money orders for an estimated amount of goods that I had taken. I wrote a letter to these "faceless corporations" explaining my situation. I told them I was sorry and I paid it back.
I cry just thinking of how I acted this way. Jesus showed me every negative action we commit, although we may think we aren't hurting anyone.....
every negative action affects someone in some way. Every sin, every negative deed,
causes someone to lose hope, or faith, or trust.
It didn't matter if everything I had ever had was stolen. Nothing, and I mean nothing justifies planting seeds of darkness in the heart and life of someone else.
It wasn't easy, at first to pay it back. I thought of every negative consequence that came to mind.
I imagined all sorts of chaos that would emerge.
But no chaos ensued.
When we listen to His Voice, when we take time to do right,
we grow our roots.