“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them....” —Ezekiel 11:19 (NIV)
Some years back I found myself working with an extremely difficult colleague. No matter how positive her co-workers were, she always managed to put a negative spin on things.
One afternoon, I was her target. That evening after work, I looked to the Scriptures for guidance. I heard what I’d come to know as God’s voice: You can’t change her, Roberta, but you can change the way you react to her. Every time she does something destructive, counteract it with something constructive.
I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but whenever she blasted me, I asked God to help me think of people who were hurting worse than I was. Sometimes I’d offer to meet them in the chapel to pray on our break. And sometimes I’d take them a small gift. Perhaps a nice new pen or a book of inspirational quotes or some hand cream. And it was fun — so much fun that I began to keep a drawer full of little treasures for such occasions.
Then one day it occurred to me that the person who was hurting the most was my negative co-worker. So I dug through my drawer and found a package of pretty notepaper and took it to her. “You have the nicest handwriting, and I thought you might enjoy this,” I said. It was the one sincere compliment I could give her.
And the most unbelievable thing happened: She wrote thank-you notes to people all over the hospital, telling them how much they meant to her. She began to change, subtly at first, and as time went on she became my coconspirator. With a little drawer of presents all her own, she began to bring help and hope to others.
Lord, help me really to listen when I read Your Word, then act as You instruct me. —Roberta Messner
Copyright © 2005 by Guideposts, Carmel, NY 10512. To reprint, contact Rights & Permissions, Guideposts, 16 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016. You can order your own copy by going to: http://shopguideposts.com/product.asp?3=177