So, I know it’s March and way past Valentine’s Day, but I want to tell you about mine anyway.
For the past few years my husband and I have participated in Team Black on Valentine’s Day. It’s a group of people that try to find ways to be inclusive, creative, and loving towards others as a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in more than just a commercial sense. This year I decided that I wanted to do something special for my husband’s co-workers; there had been some tensions between people in the office, and I thought a kind gesture might go a long way to make everyone a little happier.
Thursday night Timothy worked on dipping cashew caramels in dark chocolate and salting them while I made apple pie filling for mini pies.
I have never tried to make mini pies before, and I’m not sure I will be doing it again anytime soon. It took a long time and a lot of work! But I was doing it to brighten someone else’s day, so I knew it would be worth it in the end.
The next day my husband took the treats to his co-workers, and I couldn’t wait to hear how everyone had enjoyed them. I texted Timothy to ask about their reactions, and I was shocked to hear his reply. Timothy and several of his co-workers are in a competition to lose weight, and one of them refused to eat any of the treats and started telling others in the office that she thought I had sent the treats in to sabotage their weight loss plans so that Timothy would win the competition! I was floored. Do people really do things like that?!
What I had meant as a gesture of goodwill and kindness had been twisted into a selfish, mean-spirited act. I can’t tell you how hurt, misunderstood, and misrepresented I felt. After my initial shock wore off a bit, I reasoned with myself that Timothy’s co-workers do not know me, which means that their idea of my intentions was completely unfounded and was not meant as a personal attack on my character. Nonetheless, it affected me deeply, and as I tried to rationalize away the hurt God began to teach me something.
My knee-jerk reaction to this experience was to think—see if I ever waste my time doing something nice for Timothy’s co-workers again! But God spoke to my heart through my hurt. My mind turned to how Jesus dealt with people misrepresenting him and twisting his words: He loved anyway. Sometimes loving anyway feels like a waste to us, but that is just a lie that Satan feeds us. Love cannot be wasted; because to love is to display the character of God, and God doesn’t change depending on the way that people react to Him. He loves anyway.