It wasn’t until I started to pay for lunch that I realized it was gone. I looked on the floor, under my chair, and even underneath the table, but it was nowhere to be seen.
“Have you seen my purse?” I asked our smiling and attentive waitress. “It was right here, hanging on my chair.”
Staffed by the particular people group that my team was praying for and trying to minister to, this riverside restaurant in my small East Asian city was a favorite place to take guests. Though it was a bit pricey, we liked to give them our business and interact with the servers.
The waitress’ smile never wavered. “No, Miss, you didn’t have a purse there. You must have left it at home.”
I was starting to feel like I was losing my mind. Our table was at the far end of the restaurant, and I was sitting with my back to the wall. No one had gone behind me except our waitress…
Suddenly it hit me. When I took out a business card to give our waitress, she had to have seen the cash in my wallet (a whole month’s salary that I’d just received that morning), plus my cell phone and digital camera. It must have been the waitress who stole my purse. And the whole staff of the restaurant seemed to be in on it, backing her up on her claims of innocence.
Repay Evil with Good
“How could they DO this?” I fumed inwardly. “The whole reason I left the U.S.and moved to Asia is for THESE people! I’ve lived here all this time, prayed for them every day, tried to show the love of Christ to them, and this is how they repay me???”
For months I didn’t want to even walk past that restaurant. I stewed in anger. One day as I walked along the river, I realized that Satan was using this to try to turn me against the very people I had come to serve. He would love to steal my joy and poison me with bitterness.
Repenting of my wrong attitudes, I chose to forgive the waitress and staff of the restaurant. Reluctantly at first, I began to pray blessing over them and their business, and slowly God changed my heart. Eventually, by God’s grace, I was able to enter that restaurant again and face that waitress with a smile and the love of Christ – the love that allows me to repay evil with good.
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. …On the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. …Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17,20-21 (NIV)