It has been while since I have posted anything about Goliath. In fact, gulp!, it has been a considerable amount of time since I have posted anything at all. First, I had to wait three months for my computer to be restored to me (well, a new one provided) and then, for Lent, I reduced my Internet time, which was further restricted by quite a bit of travel to places I do not even remember without concentration (Hawaii, Qatar, Korea, North Carolina, maybe others that have slipped my mind). In any event, I am glad to be Internet-operational again, and I am happy to follow up on my posts about Goliath.
After making Goliath aware of God's message: "Let Goliath know he cannot treat My people this way," I stopped attending formation meetings by agreement with the SFO Council. So did E, who had also felt the spiritual negativity that I and others had. Then, as his term ran out, Goliath decided not to run again for formation director although I learned from those who had stayed in formation that Goliath had indeed taken God's words to heart and had changed his ways.
"So, now what?" I asked God, expecting to be told something about whether I should return to formation with a new formation director. But nothing of the sort is what I heard. (I suppose I am on my own to make the decision about returning to formation -- and I do plan to return because it makes sense to do so, now that the director is experienced and a good example of conversion and spirituality.)
Instead of getting direction about formation, what I got was a new task: "Love Goliath!"
Huh? Love someone I just spent several months "fighting" in order to bring God's message to him? Love someone who had spiritually abused those in his charge? Love someone who had stopped speaking to me and had, unsuccessfully, led a charge against me with the help of regional officials, whose help he enlisted through manipulation of information and outright lies?
Well, if told to love Goliath, then love Goliath is what I need to do. At the last several meetings, I have made a conscious effort to speak to Goliath about anything positive I could find to mention, to address him warmly, and give him hello and good-bye hugs. Funny thing about trying to love someone -- it works! (Of course, it helps that he has indeed changed his attitude after being given God's message; I suppose being told "God says that you are not to treat His people this way" would cause anyone to think twice.)
Now I have begun to have very warm feelings toward Goliath. Just in time, too. Goliath has thought about leaving the organization. From what the Council can tell, he feels embarrassed about what happened and how everything turned out and wants to avoid those he believes think poorly about him. A couple of the officers actually made the comment, "good riddance, if he leaves; he has brought this organization little more than trouble and anxiety."
I found myself in the rather odd position of arguing that he is as much a valued member as anyone else, that he needs our support now, that we must let him know that he is loved and accepted (ironically, the two things he could not do for the fiscally poorer members of his formation group). I convinced the Council to work on getting him to stay and providing positive feedback to him.
Oh, how strange are the ways of God! How unpredictable! As the scripture says, how far above our thinking is God's thinking! And how breathtaking it is to be touched even by a small part of it all!