Earlier today while walking to the subway, I joyfully said hello, how you doing…have a good day to a white man in my path. He turned abruptly and said hello…to which I replied, hopefully, I didn’t startle you, and he said, “No, I’m in my thoughts.” I’m still walking to the subway when I said, good thoughts I hope to which he replied, “No…bad thoughts.” Really, I said. What are these bad thoughts? What happened next…I can’t even find words. Keep reading…
“I think it’s providence that you said hello to me today.” Why I asked. Well, he said, you’re a black woman and I’m a white man. I’m having bad thoughts about my partner who is a black man. We broke up because he felt I was talking down to him as a white man. Did you say anything racist, I asked? “No, of course not,” he replied. “You know how it is when you have a disagreement with someone…sometimes you raise your voice and say things you don’t mean.”
Oh yes, I know all about it. He went on to tell me his partner broke his trust last summer and he forgave him, however, he recently found out he’s doing the same things again and that is why they broke up. Tell me your definition of forgiveness, I said. What does it mean to forgive? He looked flummoxed and unsure of how to answer the question.
I said to him, let me turn a lightbulb on for you. Forgiveness does not mean automatically letting the people back into your life who hurt you. Forgiveness is for you, not him. It’s about letting it go and not seeking revenge on him for the things he’s done to you. Forgiveness keeps your heart open and free. It doesn’t mean reconciliation or relationship. If he wants to have a relationship with you, he needs to be repentant. He needs to be sorry for what he did. He needs to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about his wrongdoing.
Biblically, repent means to turn away from…go in a new direction…change course. Make a radical turn from one way of life to another. He needs to stop doing the things that hurt you. Has he done that? No, he replied and then said, “Wow! I didn’t know any of this! Don’t feel bad, I said. You belong to a large majority of people who were never taught the truth about forgiveness. Like me, and countless others, you have fallen into the forgiveness trap which says, if you’ve really forgiven me, you would allow me back into your life even though I haven’t changed and even if I continue to do the things that hurt you.
As he continued to share about his relationship, I asked him to ask himself some hard questions: Why am I in a relationship with someone who disrespects and dishonors me? Why am I putting my life in danger? I asked him what happened to him. Why don’t you like yourself? Why are you accepting the unacceptable and settling for crumbs? He said, “Childhood stuff.” We all have childhood stuff, don’t we? Some of it follows us into adulthood until a lightbulb is turned on. A lightbulb was turned on for him today.
“You’re amazing! You’re amazing. You’re so strong. I need to be strong like you” he said and then he asked, “Do you believe in coincidences?” I said, no. I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe in Jesus. This is not a coincidence. This is a divine encounter…a divine appointment. I believe he orders my steps in the way that I need to go, and he puts people along my pathway to fulfill his divine plans and purpose for our lives. God created you. He has a great plan for your life and this ain’t it. What you’re involved in is not it at all. I asked him if he’s ever heard about Jesus or read a Bible…I told him he needs to get one or go online to read it because God has some things to say to him.
He kept saying, “You’re amazing, you’re amazing” to which I replied, you’re amazing too but you don’t know it. If you did, you would not be entangled with this person. If you continue on this path, it will end in destruction and death. P.S. His partner is involved in dangerous behavior.
“He was going to marry me”, he said. My visa expires in two months and then I’ll have to go back home to Paris France. Do you really want to marry him, I asked? That’s not Gods plan for your life. When he mentioned his childhood trauma earlier in the conversation, I told him to get a journal, notebook or piece of paper and write it all out of his system. Instead of marrying him, you need to do that exercise and be prepared to go back to France. God has a better plan for your life. This is your way out.
“Wow! Wow! You’re right he said. Wow! How can I thank you,” he asked? “You’re so amazing” and then he shared wise words from the late Elijah Cummings; “Things don’t happen to you. They happen for you.” I said to him, wow! I love that. What’s happening in both of our lives is happening for us, not to us. “Yes! It is,” he said and then asked to keep in touch.
Here’s where the story gets even better. We decided to keep in touch via email, so I sent him an email with my first name. Yvonne is my middle name. If I had used that name, we would not have had the next moment. After reading the email, he flung his head back, walked back and forth a bit all while smiling from ear to ear, and said, “That’s my grandmother’s name.” His eyes welled up. “You have my grandmother’s name.” Is she alive, I asked and he said, “No” and kept smiling while pacing back and forth in awe. I can’t make this stuff up. Our time together ended like this:
Him: Have you been to Paris?
Him: (Excitedly) You must come to Paris. You now have a friend in Paris. Please keep in touch.
Me: I would love to come to Paris, and I will keep in touch.
We hugged each other tightly, him, a gay white man, and me, a black heterosexual Christian woman. Meeting Simon today made my whole day. With everything happening in my life right now, he did more for me than I did for him and he doesn’t even know it. God knows what I need, and he constantly supplies. Before I got on the train, I checked my phone and there was an email from Simon that said, “You are the providence. I admire your strength. Today was not a coincidence.” It wasn’t.
Something to think about…
What say you? Do you believe in coincidences?
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