‘Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.’ – Matthew 18:10
Many years ago, when I was coordinator of a state coalition working to end family violence, I learned that one of my colleagues, whom I had trusted, shared information I had given her in confidence as a way of undermining my leadership.
Well, I felt like such a fool! I told myself I should have known better, should have been less trusting. It reminded me of being in junior high, where, as the new kid in the school, I was often the butt of practical jokes that relied on my innocent assumption that the other girls wanted to be my friends. I had been such a dupe! Over and over again I’d fall for their ploys. And this was just one more instance in which my stupid gullibility had caused me deep pain.
In those days I didn’t have anyone close with whom I could share these things, so I took my hurt to God in prayer. Since it is often God who directs my prayers, I wound up praying for the woman who had violated my confidence. I found myself praying not that she change her “evil ways”, but that she have good fortune – that she be happy.
Somehow, in the midst of that, I slowly came to really “get” that it was not my gullibility that had caused me pain. It was her betrayal. My love, my willingness to offer friendship – my childlike openness – was not a reprehensible thing. It was, and is, a characteristic of mine that is very precious to God. This realization allowed me to go back into the coalition meetings with both an open heart and firm resolve. She would not manipulate me again. But I would continue to pray for her. Protective of my own and everyone else’s good intentions, I was able to guide us beyond personal bickering to the work we had come together to do.
We probably all have within us a savvy politician and an innocent child. But it is the child who has the allegiance of its angel, the one who always sees the face of God. As Christians we are called to bring the yeast of love into all our endeavors. What we bind on earth will be bound in heaven. And what we loose will be loosed.