I happened to run into my nemesis (a formidable and usually victorious rival or opponent) last night.

I haven’t seen her (by design) in years, so to run into her out of the blue was odd for me.

This person was very influential, an incredible leader and counselor. I had spoken to her on a couple of occasions and she gave me Godly insight and wisdom I still use to this day in my own counseling.

And then something changed, I don’t know what or why, but she changed and was different. The Godly woman was gone and in her place was a gossiping fool! She was vindictive, mean, and spread dissension wherever she could. One of those she gladly spread terrible things about…..was me. Was it true? No. Did she stop and talk to me? No. But when you are low man on the totem pole, and she is much higher up than I ever would be at that time, what the truth was didn’t matter. My reputation was shot and it would be years before it was restored.

For a few years after, even though she was gone, we would still have times when we would be mutually in the same place, and every time, after the meeting, I would hear again, how she spread the same old filth and evil to whoever would stop and give her the time of day. So for years, I dreaded seeing her because I knew it would start all over again.

In my head, she had won. Oh no, she wasn’t right, but that didn’t matter. She had won. And Satan used that to keep me afraid: afraid to put myself out there again, afraid to do what God had told me to do, and afraid to become what He wanted me to be.

And I allowed it to happen. I stayed afraid for years. I allowed my relationship with Christ to suffer terribly. And I did it knowing it was wrong. But in my head, she had won!

The funniest thing happened last night: when I saw her, instead of that instant, ice-cold dread I normally felt years before, I had nothing but joy. Not joy in seeing her, just unexplainable joy in my Savior. I allowed Him to heal my heart of all that old junk, and now, I have nothing left but the joy. Does that make sense?

He took the feelings of inferiority and replaced them with Godly strength. He replaced the feelings of insecurity with confidence and self worth. And He took away the fear and replaced it with joy.

So when I ran into this woman, I felt only joy.

And then, extreme sadness for her. She had allowed Satan to use her and to rob her of her testimony. It wasn’t something I did or even prayed would happen. It was a natural consequence of her own actions. She took her eyes off of her Savior and fell. I felt sorry for her. To be so high, only to fall so far.

I don’t really know the rest of her story, where she is at spiritually, whether or not she restored her close relationship with God, I only know how very easy it is for all of us to do it. Gossip….something that seems so innocent and small compared with other sins, can destroy a reputation. Pride…..such a minuscule sin, can horribly effect a relationship with Christ.

It’s so easy to be distracted and lose our focus on Him and fall away. I think that’s what made me so sad last night, it’s so easy. It happens so quickly. And it can happen to all of us! It only takes a moment of selfishness to look away and before you realize it, you’ve lost so much. And I pray, she’s found her way back, what she had was amazing.

I want to stay diligent. I have to stay diligent. I don’t want to lose a second of what my Savior has for me.

I don’t want to waste a moment.