Recently, I have been digging deep and thinking about people in my past who have disappointed me. It's like every 5 years I look back and evaluate my life 5 years earlier and pick it apart: the good, the bad, and the ugly (the ugly is usually how I was acting at the time). Anyway, as I search into my fairly recent history, I am seeing some obvious disappointments. People I thought were solid and loved Jesus, who made decisions that sent them running in the opposite direction of everything Holy. Let me make it clear that I have intense trouble with this. Someone can slap me in the face and call me names, yet, I'm willing to work through it, but disregard Jesus? Oh, I just don't know what to say to that sometimes. I remember the heartbreak I felt during that time as so many friends I thought were strong stepped away from grace. Some of those relationships, I sought to keep strong. Some I never heard from again. Shamefully, some I judged and walked away from (*shameful*).
So here I am today, thinking about those friends. As I washed dishes this morning, I walked through some steps to relationship recovery with myself. Step 1: Forgive them. I have heard it said that true forgiveness means being able to wish the offender well. To bless them. Well this took a bit of work, but the 5 years that took place in between most of the drama sure helps. I started remembering the good times, and oh, those times were good. Fun and youthful. Step 2: Remember grace. As I worked through "How could they...", I remembered King David. God REALLY trusted this man and yet he shacked up with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. Bad news. And there's Noah- built a boat, survived annihilation by water, and then got drunk and naked. Boo. Oh my, thank you Lord for the reminder. My biggest beef with my friends came from the fact that they were a part of something awesome. God used them in their gifts. They saw people saved, changed. And then they left ministry to pursue...other things. Well, so did David, Noah, and so many others. God is graceful. He forgives and he uses us in spite of...us. That brings me to Step 3: Who am I? Better than them? No. In many of these cases, I only made things worse. God's kindness leads his children to repentence, and I was not a good example of this to many of my friends. I am so sorry. I have been focused on my hurt and my lack of understanding, that I failed to be loving, gentle, kind, peace-making, yada- yada. I realize that I am a different person than I once was. I occasionally remember how I handled situations in my past and I cringe. I definitely lacked gentleness and grace. I aspire to be better at those qualities now.
God, let me be graceful and humble in my relationships. Those qualities are much prettier than the ones I have previously exibited. Stay tuned...in 5 years I'm gonna write another blog like this.