A taste of FAITH, a touch of LAUGHTER.
This story is difficult to share, but here it is……I hope the sharing of it might help someone else somehow.
Struggling with so much personally right now in this topic of sin and forgiveness and it has been a good study with the pastor in Matthew 18, over the past few weeks, looking at what Jesus says in context of the entire chapter. It has been so thought provoking to look at my current problems in this new light.
Been having a problem with a friend, a sister in Christ. It’s a long term thing and very complex. There have been hurts in our relationship over time, apparently on both sides, and damage to the relationship. I find I may very well have been blind to some of my own responsibilities in the damages to our relationship.
At the time of writing, I have actually withdrawn from my own participation in this relationship, because I felt further involvement would be damaging to myself. I have had to sacrifice some things I love in order to do this, but when I thought it all out as honestly as I was able, there were other good reasons to make these sacrifices anyway, things pertaining only to MYSELF. It was time to think of THESE things.
I needed to examine my own motives in these activities I was involved in along with my sister in Christ. Were my motives in them completely pure? Were they fully honouring to God? Did I just want to be in the limelight? Did I covet leadership in the outreach activities? Was I men pleasing, or even SELF pleasing, rather than God pleasing? Tough questions to consider.
As the pastor talked about Matthew 18 in these last few weeks, I have had reason to think very carefully about the situation between myself and my friend, my sister in Christ. I need to think of how she has tried persistently to reach out to me, to confess and to apologize for her own part in the situation, and to work with some of the problems as she saw them, having been feeling hurt herself. I need to think of how I have responded to her in light of how I was seeing the situation. As I said, it is VERY complex. I would prefer to walk away from it, seeing it as an unhealthy situation for me, and just forget about it, if I could.
I have sought some solace in other Christian friends, which was perhaps the wrong thing to do in this situation. Sometimes talking about a situation to someone other than the person involved, a situation which rightly should remain between yourself and that other person, puts that person you are struggling with in a bad light with others and creates a potential barrier between people who could potentially otherwise be friends at some point in the future. If I am to be truthful, it is essentially gossip, at that point. I felt that I needed help. That’s why I did that. No excuse. It is damage.
I need to be able to work this out between my friend and myself, even though she has already tried often to work some of this out over time between us. SHE has, not me. She has called and confessed her part in some of it. It has been difficult for both of us.
I need to ask myself how I have done in it all. I need to understand my own reactions in it. Have I just swept it under the rug, not wanting to deal with the confrontation?
When I “forgave” my friend, was I in denial about my own hurt feelings? Have I denied that there was really ever a problem and, for the most part, denied how I felt about it (hurt) and tried to move on past it, by saying it’s OK. I don’t see it or feel it, therefore it doesn’t really exist. Do I still need to work this out with her, painful though that might be?
Was I in denial about my own part in everything? Have I denied her right to her own feelings, her own hurt, by not acknowledging both how she could have hurt me and how I could possibly have hurt her? Have I been dishonest in not admitting my own feelings, my own reactions to, and about, everything that has come between us? These questions were becoming clear as the time of separation in our friendship increased.
When I began to write about this today I had some other things in mind to say. I guess that is for another writing. This has taken its own much needed direction.
Thanks for “listening”.
Food for thought……
Need for prayer……
Nov 23, 2014
Post script, November 24, 2014
That same day after writing this, yesterday, that is, I was reviewing these sermon notes I had made once again, and I was busy thinking in some more depth, when I “heard” these words “spoken” to me :
“Go to her….”
It was clear direction, and certainly not out of my own heart. When that happens, I know it is God speaking into my life. It was not the thing I wanted to do, or had imagined doing, but I listened to those words, took my courage in both hands, and left within a very short space of time, in much prayer.
My friend was surprised to see me, but not unhappy, and very generously gave the time to talk, even though she had had some plans. We prayed together and then we spent a good hour and a half in good face to face opening up in honesty time, with quite a few tears, reviewing what had happened between us. We ended that time in prayer again, hugged each other and said goodbye as I went on my way home.
Now I don’t know for sure what the outcome of all this will be. We both felt that time is needed to absorb and reflect. There is no guarantee. We just need to pray.
One thing I do know. I did my part, as honestly and as openly as I could. I risked. We have left our friendship in God’s hands, knowing only He can work any necessary changes our hearts. Only He can heal. Only He can restore our relationship.
May His will be done in it all and in us….