Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Clean Slate

Today is the first day in over thirty six years that I have waken up with no enemies. I began acquiring adversaries in my early teenage years. At times they included people from entire countries that had a beef with my country. Once someone was on the bad list, it was almost impossible for me to stop hating them. That is what makes this day so special.

I refuse to take any credit for my new life. As I look back, I see how God placed people in my life that helped me to change my perspective on the world. I recall the first person I met from the former Soviet Union. He was the kind of person I would have wanted to be around if we lived in the same hood. He came to America because he loved everything we stood for. We had music and jeans. We also had missiles pointed at his city but he ignored that. He told me his city was full of students that did not share his governments view of our country. He desired freedom and desperately wanted to live here.

As a youngster, I watched the news reports that showed other countries accusing us of being the "Great Satan" and burning our flag...that fueled the anger I felt inside. Later in life, I began meeting people from this country that fled persecution. These people were highly successful in their homeland. They gave up engineering jobs just to come here and live their dreams. They became taxi cab drivers and car dealers. I became good friends with these people. They showed me scars from the torture they endured because they thought differently from their leaders. Many lost parents or siblings. I will never forget that one of these people from a country that I once despised showed up at my father's funeral. He came in as the service was beginning and I invited him to sit with my family. He didn't even know my father but wanted to give me support. He was my only customer that made time for the service.

I was invited to a Muslim wedding. It was an incredible experience. The people were great and the day was filled with so much joy. They were so different from the flag burners that I saw on TV. They had family values and loved living in a country that valued freedom.

Gradually, my prejudice toward entire countries faded. Each new person I met helped me to understand that my views of the world were very wrong. Then one day something very special happened. A lady placed her hands over me and prayed for the Holy Spirit to enter my heart. Later she apologized for crying all over me. She told me when she put her hands over me, she felt heat and she knew something was happening. I told her that I never felt her tears but I did have a vision of all of my enemies and I was thanking God for them.

Today I understand the vision. The last enemy has been forgiven. There is an incredible joy to be so free. It took so much energy to hate that many people. The last one on the list remained there for a long time. The pain he caused affected all of my partners. His name is not important and the past hurt is not important.

Yesterday I asked for a meeting with my former enemy and talked with him in private. I confronted him about the past and told him I wanted everything to remain in the past. He told me that he thought all of us at Zoom were plotting to destroy the company he represented. He talked about our departure plans and the malice we had.

It is true that all of us had a great deal of anger directed at Goliath. We knew we had been black-balled. This was the number one reason we decided to move forward with our plan to compete. We saw this as our only hope to have a better life. I told this person that my partners and I made a pact that we would never speak to him again when we started Zoom. I kept my part of the agreement for over four and one half years. Yesterday I forgave my former enemy and then called the partners that were most affected by this individual. I told them that it was time to put the past in the past and move on and they agreed. We never wanted to destroy Goliath but it appears that when they attacked us, they self-destructed. There were 4,000 casualties. Was this a coincidence? My partners and I are too busy putting these people back to work to answer this question. I do feel that our presence in the marketplace may have caused a distraction for Goliath. I am sad for all the people that lost their jobs and pray that they recover.

Today is a new day. I have a clean slate. I cannot even begin to describe how good it feels to be in this world with no enemies. When I get to meet Jesus I will thank him for every person he placed next to me in His puzzle. Each one played a role in helping me to become a better person.

Today is a great day to have a clean slate. May you find a way to forgive your enemies and discover the joy of letting go of past hurts.

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