I was angry. I felt violated, anxious, vexed, vengeful, helpless and disbelieving all at the same time. We had been robbed. Driving into our secure car park under our building, we saw that the garage door had been broken open and our carefully stored goods were everywhere. The most expensive item, our dryer, along with a few smaller things were gone. Thankfully our tent and most of our camping equipment remained.
And I was out for blood! “Mate, put that thief in front of me right now and I’ll go all Hulk on him.” I was in serious danger of losing control. I wanted to break something (or someone). Into my head flashed thoughts of loving my enemy and that I should forgive like Jesus forgave those who were killing Him. But in the heat of the moment, I felt more like doing a David and calling down curses onto their heads. That’s biblical too right? My heart wasn’t convinced, but I was clinging onto my anger to make sense of things.
... when we are sinned against we feel justified sinning. The problem goes round and round. The only way to break the cycle is to forgive.
It didn’t make my wife feel any better about the robbery. As is often the case, my anger was manifesting itself and was directed at the robbers, but I’ve learned that often she feels it’s being directed at her (or at least she hates being stuck in the same room with it). Thankfully (as she so often does), she took a pragmatic perspective. “It’s only stuff! Please don’t worry about it.” And when we got into our apartment, she sat me down and prayed with me. I like how pointed her prayers can be. Praise God for a partner to keep me accountable!
So as I calmed down, I had to process my emotions. I started thinking about references to thieves in the Bible. The first one who came to mind was the thief on the cross. He was a thief being killed for his crimes but Jesus focused on his faith, not his past crimes. The other was the verse, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20). OK, so I was storing my “treasure” in the garage. I didn’t use the stuff every day, I was just storing it and, anyway, there are far more important things in life. How lucky I was to have had two dryers, a golf set I never used, camping gear, etc.
There are a lot of people in the world who have less and this was just my stored stuff. As I worked through my shock I realised how lucky I am. I had been humbled by my Lord’s example and my wife’s correction. I also began to understand the sin problem a little bit more. You see, when we are sinned against we feel justified sinning. The problem goes round and round. The only way to break the cycle is to forgive. If anger equals murder, as Jesus said, then I was in serious danger of being overcome by evil. According to Paul the only way to overcome evil is with good (Romans 12:21).
It was up to me to break the cycle and get over it. So to whoever robbed our garage—I forgive you and I pray you come to know my Saviour, Jesus.
Jarrod Stackelroth is assistant editor of RECORD.