Ella sat at her desk, her head in her hands. She knew that she should be writing her next report due in a few days, but no words appeared on her screen. She opened her desk drawer and looked at her last report. The page was covered with red marks, the edits from Shirley, her supervisor. Ella felt terrible. She had not even bothered to read the report to see what Shirley had thought needed correction.
At that moment, Shirley passed by Ella’s desk. When she saw that Ella was not working, Shirley gave her a dirty look. Ella got up and went to the ladies room.
Returning to her desk after twenty minutes, Ella found a note: “Employees on the clock are expected to be using their time wisely.” Shirley had signed the note and put a little “happy face” on it to soften the effect.
Ella had all she could take! She grabbed her coat from her locker, clocked out, and left for the day! She could not wait to tell her roommate about her “terrible supervisor”. Shirley had come highly recommended, but she had been with the company only a few weeks. What neither Ella or Shirley could see was the “wall of animosity” that was growing between them. Each time Ella repeated her story, her fear of Shirley grew, adding more bricks to the animosity wall.
When she came in late the next morning, Ella added a few bricks to that wall. Shirley added a few more bricks to the wall when, passing by Ella’s desk, she found her not working, and cleared her throat giving an indication of her disapproval.
To make matters worse, Ella overheard Shirley talking in the lunch room about the lazy, uncooperative girl in her group. The wall was getting higher.
That night Ella’s roommate, Irene, suggested that they pray about the situation. “I get the impression that you need to give Shirley a chance. Do you know what specifically she doesn’t like about your reports?”
Ella’s response was surprising: “No, I never reread them. I just couldn’t bear the fact that she found so much wrong.”
Irene was adamant in her advice: “‘The Word of God instructs us to ‘love our enemies and do good to those who appear to take advantage of us.’ I recommend that you read your reports and make at least some of the corrections she is suggesting.”
Ella bowed her head and asked for the Lord’s help. After a few moments, she sensed that He was giving her peace about the situation.
The next day, Ella followed Irene’s advice. She reread her edited reports. To her surprise, Shirley had corrected the same error in several places. Shirley had made a couple of positive comments as well.
Ella worked at her latest report all morning. She carefully included some of Shirley’s suggestions, and thanked her for her positive comments. She couldn’t see it, but she had just removed the top row of bricks from that invisible animosity wall.
Shirley brought Ella’s edited paper back to Ella’s desk personally. “I really think that you have a future as a technical report writer, Ella,” she said kindly. “However, there are a few issues in your writing that you need to address. Will you let me help you?”
Ella couldn’t have been more surprised. “You do? You will? Oh, yes, yes. Please help me!”
With Ella’s response, the final remnants of the animosity wall dissolved! Love had provided the solution.
Love never fails. I Cor. 13:8
The greatest of these is love. I Cor. 13:13
Above all love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins! I Peter 4:8
Perfect love drives out fear! I John 4:15
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good! Romans 12:21