VICTORY THROUGH VIOLATION
BY: SUNNY ORLY COFFMAN
JULY 3, 2002
I’m back at the computer after getting comfortable in bed on this eve of the American holiday that reminds us all what a great blessing it is to be an American. In 1776, this rugged and mostly untamed land became an independent nation and it has had quite a history. There is a gigantic fireworks display planned in downtown Dallas tomorrow night! So many are living in fear of big gatherings today because of the terrorist attacks against our nation on 9-11-01 in New York. I believe that much victory has come to Americans as a result of this national violation, in spite of all the suffering incurred. Many have returned to a far more simple lifestyle of true values – faith in God, love of family and pride in our nation.
As I was lying in my bed, I heard my husband thanking the Lord for the recent theft of our hand-propelled power lawnmower. He had discovered this theft 2 or 3 weeks ago and finally began to use the riding lawnmower he had purchased a couple of years ago – but never had used. He kept postponing the use of the riding mower because our backyard was pretty uneven and he was hoping to get it leveled before he put the big mower into service. But this theft of the smaller mower caused him to put the larger mower into service immediately. I know this riding mower has made his job so much easier. Keeping an acre of land mowed with a small, conventional power mower was a real job each week. This is especially good timing, since my husband had a recent surgery that has made this job of mowing even more of a challenge. Today this riding mower is more of a necessity – not just a luxury!
A memory kept knocking on the door of my mind and finally motivated me to get out of the bed and back in here to document an event in my life – the only time our home has ever been broken into. It has been more than 30 years now, but it seems like only yesterday. I came home after being on the road working for almost 5 months and discovered that our back door had been broken and someone had made entry into our home while we were away.
After a quick inventory of things missing, it became pretty obvious that young people had been at the root of this invasion. Rare coins were missing… but only the ones that looked pretty familiar. The unusual ones were still in their jackets… I was pretty sure that someone totally unfamiliar with the real value of the coins was behind this theft. There were many pawn-able things that were left in tact… another sign that probably only things that were of personal interest to the culprit[s] were taken.
I was in my late 30’s and had been through a life-changing experience in a hospital in Houston, TX only a few months prior to this theft. A real spiritual awakening had taken place within me and I was doing a whole lot of reading in the Bible. I knew that as a Christian, I was to pray for anyone that wrongfully used me. So, I began to pray for “whoever” had broken into my home and had stolen the missing items. I asked God to forgive them for what they did and I verbally stated my own forgiveness toward them. I asked God to allow me to know who the thief was, if there were some way I could be used in their life.
I had only lived in this home about 2 months before leaving for my annual road trip to work trade shows around the country. I hardly knew the names of any neighbors because I had been busy trying to get settled in my new home. When I returned and discovered the theft, I began to make friendships around the neighborhood. I had teenage sons and several of the young people in the area were frequent visitors at our house. There was one young man who lived in a home diagonally across the street that was coming over often and seemed to always wind up talking to me rather than my boys. He seemed to have an unusual amount of personal problems, even for a teen. I tried to encourage him every time I had opportunity and I told him how I had found my peace in the personal relationship I now enjoyed with God and His Son, Jesus Christ. I had purchased this boy a Bible and gave it to him.
One night this neighbor boy came over pretty late, had his new Bible in his hand, and tears were rolling down his freckled cheeks. Within a few minutes, he told me he was one of two boys that had broken into my home and stolen the things that were missing. He said it was the first time he had ever done anything like that; but his buddy, who had the real plan for this crime, went on to bigger and better things and was now serving time in jail for another theft.
The tears being shed were not only out of the shame and sorrow this boy was feeling, but also because he had allowed the enemy of his soul to convince him that just as soon as he confessed his crime, he would immediately lose the one friend he had that would always listen to him and encourage him… me. When he saw the truth – my speaking forgiveness to him and again encouraging him to put this event behind him and move on to better way of life – saw that he had been listening to a lie for many months and living in torment – and all for nothing – it really got his attention! I saw a prisoner set free before my very eyes and it was a real blessing to me.
A few days later, this young man appeared on my front porch with a cigar box full of items he had retrieved from the home of his “partner in crime.” He had spoken with the parents of his former friend and was given permission to go through the boy’s room, looking for things that he knew had been taken from my home. It was a joy to receive some of the things that had sentimental value to me and I believe it was an even greater joy to my neighbor. He felt so good that he could return some of my “treasures” to me.
I’m convinced that if you are a child of God, trusting Him for your provision and protection, should something that you judge to be evil, enter your life, there must be a good reason for it… something good is going to be the end result of it all. That is how it worked out with the theft over 30 years ago and that is how it has worked out today for my husband and the theft of our lawnmower. My husband’s life is easier today. It only takes him half the time to keep our grass cut and without all of the effort he formerly expended.
If someone has broken a trust, violated you in any way, I encourage you to forgive them, turn them over to God, and walk in peace. Perhaps you can even be a blessing in their life somewhere down the line!
In the meantime, celebrate the joy of being an American today and focus on the light that comes with liberty. Take an active part in being a good neighbor, a friend, a Mom or Dad, a wife or husband. Those are the grass roots values that our nation was built upon and – some things just don’t change with time!
VICTORY THROUGH VIOLATION [Sunny Orly Coffman] 7-3-02 1