Have you ever thought about all the things that don’t happen to you? I mean, we complain about the things that do all the time (lost job, failed grade, unnecessary drama, lack of money, bad credit, etc.) but I tend to think that for all the things that we experience, there is a heck load of stuff that we don’t…and some that we should yet don’t. I mean we say and do dumb things yet sometimes the simple lesson of getting too close to the fire is enough.
There’s a story in the Bible about a guy named Jacob. Jacob is a lying, tricking, sad dude who learned lots of his traits from his mama (brings new meaning to Will.I.Am’s tune). Twice over, he plays his brother, Esau, for a punk. He robs him of some valuable stuff, then runs away for his life since his brother is a trained hunter (Think of Dog, the…except with Red hair…). It’s years before the two ever meet again, and while they are separated, Jacob has a few life lessons he experiences and an Encounter that forever changes his life’s course. We don’t hear much about his bro but we can assume that he wanted to get even…I know I would. Esau finds out where Jacob is and goes on the pursuit. Jacob naturally is scared for himself and the family he created (two wifes who were sisters, and a boatload of kids) but walks them towards their attacker. I can imagine he was thinking: “I shouldn’t have robbed him…why was I so selfish…he kills animals…he is going to kill me with bare hands in front of my sons, daughter and wives…crap.” Yet the craziest thin happens. When Esau sees him, he hugs him, forgives him and lets him live. Dodged bullet.
Why tell that story? For me, there are days when I don’t want to walk into my past (be it past years or even past holidays) for fear of what’s coming, or what should come or even worse, what someone assumes I should receive. I feel frightened like Jacob knowing his brother is miles away yet walking right towards him. Old feelings creep in. Old ideas…old me. Yet because of grace, no matter what the outcome is on the other end, I know that I’ll be okay. I know that’ll learn, grow and avoid that same thing next time. So when I run into people who I’d…for lack of better terms, rather not see, or hear someone complain about something I did years ago, I don’t see myself as they SAW me or think I am (and trust me, people speak forgiveness but don’t often live out non-judgement), but instead I see myself as who I am now. And when I don’t go back to where they want me, I’ve dodged a bullet. Cause it coulda been much worse.
I think the worst part for Jacob was maybe thinking that Esau wouldn’t see him as changed but always the same liar. I can understand that. We have friends that see us at our worst yet help us push for our best. Then there are those who’d rather see us as the same; possibly to justify their positions, i guess. But worst than that would be if we saw ourselves that way too. None of us have to be slaves to what we were. We can actually be different, knowing that it could have been far worse but we avoided some major pitfalls.
This past winter, I went though that…thinking of myself as old me, as opposed to the person I am and should be, and wasted a lot of time. I’m glad that’s done with. And now when I walk around, read, tweet, blog or hear similar stories… ANYTHING, i think back, then forward and say, ‘man, I dodged some bullets there’.
So even when run-ins occur or the mind begins to sulk and fear, it’s okay…I’m not the man I used to be.
And I am very happy about that.
How bout you? What bullets have you dodged? How have you changed? What needs to? How can He change you? Remember, each day you live, you’re never the same…