I wrote the last post (A Parable) quite a few months ago. At that time, I was still reeling from what Christians can sometimes be so good at doing: shooting their wounded.
The players in that drama will never know the full destructive force of one Christian bearing false witness against another. Why? Because they have chosen to not see, not listen, and not move forward. This is where our roads diverge.
I’ve forgiven and moved forward. Releasing the seeds of bitterness before they grew out of control can only be attributed to the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart. I had the luxury (the most appropriate word, really) of watching someone else refuse to let go and move forward. Over a period of years his anger increased, his bitterness changed him. Not for the better. The luxury was that I learned a valuable lesson as a witness before I was thrust into the role of participant.
I forgave months ago. Today, I finally felt release. Release to post the parable, release that it has left my laptop, release to allow others to read what might be an encouragement. We’ve all experienced times when we’ve felt betrayed, used, abused. It’s good to know when we aren’t alone and even better to know someone who isn’t permanently damaged by the experience.
I was speaking with a dear friend recently about how I approach new friendships. I told her I’m cautious. The desire for friendship is there, but thanks to past experiences, I take my time. I wish I didn’t have the cynicism that has come from experience, but it’s there, quietly bubbling, reminding me to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself lest I find myself in the midst of yet another betrayal. You see, while it is possible to forgive (as I have done), it is impossible to forget. I don’t dwell in the past, but I must learn from it or I am doomed to repeat it. I’ve heard that somewhere before…
The good friends I have are truly a blessing. I hope to make more good friends in the future, but for now, I’ll be taking things slowly.
“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!” 1 John 4:7-12 (The Message~a Bible Paraphrase)