For the past several years, I have been troubled by the loss of peace in my workplace. The old harmony had been systematically undermined by persistent back-biting and venomous beliefs. However hard I tried to do my part in holding things to the golden way they once were, despite the prayers and tears, the rifts widened and deepened with the passage of years. I struggled on, and more than once asked God, How much longer?
And then, I read Isaiah 58 ~
Thus says the LORD:
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake,
and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,
“Restorer of ruined homesteads.” Isaiah 58: 9 – 12
Suddenly, it came together for me. I believe I have always given all I have for those around me. I’ve tried to be there for the sorrowing and the grieving long after the last caller has left and the griever forgotten. Yet, it always seemed as if nothing I did ever mattered much for long. The camaraderie I forged among my co-workers misted away easily in any passing gale of malice and spite.
In …remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech… I saw my failing. It should have been obvious but it wasn’t. Whilst I saw the desecration of relationships and had been wounded myself by workplace malice and gossiping, I too had failed to keep myself pure of those same accusations. Too often had I sought respite in the same sins that hurt and maimed us all.
I hadn’t done enough to restore peace. That was the long and short of it.
That was why God gave me the prayer, Let them love God more than themselves – to be said at the very start of a wounding, the very second I saw or felt it, not a moment later. For the stones of sin to be removed, I had to first fast from my own sinful inclinations to hurt others through gossiping and biased assessments. I had to fast by turning every hurt into a conversion prayer.
For it is only through this fast that I can come into the fullness of His will for me as Repairer of the breach, and Restorer of ruined homesteads.