Last week I wrote the article “Plagiarized” as a reflection on how the Lord dealt with my heart when part of my blog were copied and pasted onto another blogger’s site. In that entry I expressed how I was frustrated and hurt but God reminded me that this site belongs to him. I was convicted not to publicly defame the person who was plagiarizing TeachwithJoy content and let the issue rest. If God wanted to convict the person then he would.
The next day, I received an email from someone who admitted that she was the person who had copied and pasted content from my blog. This was a surprise! Even more unprecedented was her humility and apology. She talked about how convicted she was, so much so that she decided to take down her site. She followed through with this promise. When I checked her site again, it was gone.
When she emailed me, I responded to her with this message…
Hi ___________, of course I forgive you. Why don’t you start a new blog if you really want to write? But be honest about what you put there, your own life lessons and stories. If you really want to be a blessing to people, then a blog is a good way to do it. You know what helps me? I ask God to give me daily inspiration to write and he is the one who gives me insights about his word, about life. I want to thank you for apologizing. It means a lot.
Can I ask you something? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Do you know that he loves you and has a plan for your life? Whatever mistakes you have made (including this one), he will forgive because he died on the cross for you, for me, for all of us.
When I was a little girl, I knew Jesus but I didn’t have a relationship with him. I would steal pencils, erasers, candy, etc from my classmates. (this was before I was homeschooled). And I even told a huge lie about our house being like a zoo so I could never invite my friends over. Well one day my dad was having a bible study with us and I started to cry. I was nine years old. I told him I didn’t know if I was going to heaven or hell and I was afraid to die. He took me aside and shared with me what it means to trust in Jesus, to make him the Lord and Savior of my life. I prayed for him to come in to my life, to forgive my sins, and I asked him to be my Lord and Savior. When I did, my life changed. I had peace knowing I was forgiven, knowing that someday I would go to heaven when I die.
I don’t think it is an accident that our lives intersected, ________. I really believe that God allowed us to so I could tell you that you are loved by him, that he wants to have a personal relationship with you.
God is a redeemer. He takes what is broken in us and he heals it. I don’t know what you have been through in life but whatever it is, God gives each one of us a new beginning. The Bible says that he gives us a new start in Jesus.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB)
I invite you to say the same prayer that I did when I was a young girl. Ask Jesus to forgive you for your sins and to come into your life as Savior and Lord. Then your real journey in the faith and as a writer with a voice to glorify God will begin.
God bless you, ____________.
After I sent this message, she wrote back again, giving me insight into her past. She shared that she had been through a lot of heartache and somehow the content in my blog allowed her to mask this. I better understood where she was coming from when she revealed this to me. My heart went out to her.
I wanted to give an update on what happened between us because this is obviously the work of the Lord. When I wrote the prequel to this, I had no idea what God was going to do. I believed that he was in control and he allowed the plagiarism to happen. I also listened to his prodding to refrain from lambasting and slandering this woman in public by putting her name and site on my blog. I’m so glad he stopped me from giving in to my irritation!
This was one of those moments in life when I could have missed out on the opportunity to tell someone about Jesus. If I had given in to selfishness I would never have been able to tell her, “God loves you and has a plan for your life.” I would’ve sounded like a total hypocrite.
Furthermore, since she has emotional wounds that only God can repair, I was also reminded not to judge people. Luke 6:37 says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned;pardon, and you will be pardoned.”
Everyone has experiences that influence and affect the way they act and behave in the present. I’m not saying that a person’s past justifies their sin. But judging their motivations is God’s department. My role is to love people as Christ has loved me, to forgive as God has forgiven me, to be a dispenser of grace, as I have generously received grace.
I must remember that I represent the interests of God. He wants all people to know him personally and experience his love and forgiveness, even people who may hurt or offend me. If I choose to partner with him to communicate this instead of retaliating or fighting back for self-centered reasons then I have the privilege of witnessing him turn unpleasant experiences into amazing stories of grace.
I believe God purposed for me and this blogger to encounter one another so that I would have the opportunity to tell her about Him.
As 2 Corinthians 5 puts it, God has given us the ministry of reconciliation — to reconcile people to himself. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”