Wednesday, January 9, 2013
The Pain of False Accusations
Temperatures were hovering around freezing all morning and the light rain had produced sheets of ice. I went out for my lunch not realizing how slippery the surface of the blacktopped driveway at the restaurant had become. As I ran towards the building, my feet flew out from under me and I landed hard on my left side pinning my arm under me. Being cold and somewhat in shock from the fall, I picked myself up and determined I would go ahead and get my lunch and return to my work to eat.
Upon returning to the station, my left arm seemed to be working okay initially or so I thought. Then, my hand began to swell and the pain started to overwhelm me. As it turned out, I had a severe break in my left elbow which the doctor said would require surgery the next day if I ever wanted to use the arm again. Being left handed, I had no choice in this matter.
Following surgery, I was told to keep the arm immobile for five weeks and remain at home. There was little I could do since all my writing depended on this arm and I certainly could not type either. I informed work of my status. Naturally, no one was happy to hear that I would be out for five weeks, but there was no alternative.
My immediate supervisor, a bookkeeper, had her daughter come in to help keep things going in my office. This is when the trouble began. As it was discovered that I was behind in my filing, complaints began to be made. Instead of calling me to ask where certain items were, the bookkeeper's daughter reorganized the office and made known to her mother that I had done a poor job. There was no opportunity for me to give explanation that I was in the process of bringing things into better order in the office.
Upon my return, I received a reprimand both from my supervisor and my father-in-law for the work I had left undone. To my surprise, I was also informed that I had failed to let my supervisor know when I would return to work even though no one bothered to call me. I was crushed by the accusations since I had let the office staff know I would be out for five weeks due to the injury. I had given my best efforts to my job and where I had failed in keeping up with filing I apologized. No one is perfect and when someone is absent for a time, people can pick the absent person to pieces.
This whole incident put a strain on my relationship to my father-in-law who believed the bookkeeper over his own daughter-in-law. However, I resolved to go on and do my best and begin a search for another job in the mean time. I knew that as long as the bookkeeper remained the person to oversee the office, there would not be cordial relationships possible. The only thing which sustained me during this time was my faith in the Lord.
As I looked in the Word each day, I read about others who were unjustly accused for things which they did not do. Joseph popped out at me first. He had been thrown into a pit because his brothers were jealous of him. Then, he was sold into slavery. Having found favor with his master, he was given great responsibility until his master's wife accused him of trying to assault her. Ending up in prison, Joseph never gave up his hope in God. This was exactly what I needed to read at this time.
Then, I read about King David whose father-in-law chased him all around the countryside trying to kill him as a result of jealousy over his popularity. David had done no wrong but had been a faithful steward and warrior under King Saul. In fact, he was not only a son-in-law but also best friends with the King's son. This, however, made little difference. David spent years on the run through no fault of his own. Eventually, justice came to him in the death of Saul by the hand of enemies. Even then, David did not rejoice in the death of this man who had pursued him. He had always conducted himself properly even though his life had been in jeopardy. What a witness he had been in terms of his conduct towards Saul.
Finally, I considered Jesus who was falsely accused before the Sanhedrin. Our Savior, who had committed no sin, was accused by witnesses of blasphemy. Then, after the sham of a trial, our Lord went to the cross to pay for our sins even though He was faultless Himself. Jesus never argued or called down fire from heaven as He stood accused. He was the perfect sacrifice for us that we might be saved through His death.
In all these cases from the Bible, I saw how men were accused unjustly, but God took what was meant for evil and turned it for good. Joseph even said that to his brothers when he finally revealed his identity to them years later as he stood in the place of power in Egypt. He said, "And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt" (Genesis 45:5-8). If he could look at difficult days like that, who was I to complain?
There were several lessons I learned from the situation I found myself in at my job. First, it is often difficult to work for or with relatives. Misunderstandings, and in my case, lack of communication caused some pain in the relationship. Secondly, God works in and through our circumstances to help us grow. Not one of us is promised an easy ride to heaven in this life. We WILL face challenges. As a result of my hurt, I ran to God's Word for answers which helped me grow in His grace. Finally, I learned how to forgive and move on. That was a big one in this situation! We all need this because bitterness can ruin your life.
This story had a happy ending ultimately. I found another job which was a good move for me as it gave me a chance to make new friends, allow myself to heal, and offered me some extra income until we started our family. With time, prayer, and love, the relationship with my father-in-law was mended and we all moved on. It is my firm belief that there is never a circumstance that happens in life that does not first pass through the Father's hands. He allows the trials to come to increase our trust in Him and to work good into our lives. With each passing day, I can look back and say "Thank you Father for the lessons I have learned." Selah!
What lessons is God teaching you right now? What has He taught you in the past? I welcome your thoughts and comments. May we always encourage one another.
Picture courtesy of Wikipedia Commons