“You’re not included.”
Well, this isn’t exactly what she said to me, but it felt that way.
Worst of all, this wasn’t the first this woman had excluded me and, as I’d come to know later that day, it wouldn’t be the last time, either. Grr.
When I got home, I thought, “I hate that lady.” She was rude to push me out, to set me aside. And, now she was acting was ungodly. I guess she is just an unhappy person…and, it seems — unthoughtful and untrustworthy.
Mean thoughts kept coming, until God broke in.
God stopped me. I knew my heart wasn’t right, but I didn’t know how to stop the avalanche of mean things I felt inside.
Yet, Jesus. “Jesus came not to condemn the world, but to save it.” (see Jo. 3:17)
If Jesus came — not to condemn, but to save, shouldn’t I come that way too? This got me to thinking…
What would it look like me for me to save my judgment so I could love, rather than hate? If Jesus saved me, rather than holding me to every past mistake, shouldn’t I also forgive this passive-aggressive woman too?
Doing this was going to be hard, but I knew: Either the Word of God would take hold of my heart or anger at man would.
What would I do? Certainly, I didn’t want a bitter root to grow within me. So, I decided to forgive her.
You see, I’ve had moments of insecurity – where I felt unsure or uneasy, but still, God and others decided to stick with me. I’ve made mistakes in my tone of voice and, still, God still kept me. I’ve been hurt and wanted to take that out on others (in fact, I still do this at times) and God lets me start again.
In so many ways, I have been this woman too. It was never the condemnation or unforgiveness that changed me – it was the grace, and space to grow, that made room for transformation. I want to afford this woman this room too.
If I’ve learned one thing over my short life, it is this: We are most free, when we forgive. Why? Because we love instead of hate. Clearing out ungodly emotions makes room for God’s goodness, hope, and restoration. Here, if called to do so, we can minister from a pure heart, rather than an angry one. I know this process may feel hard.
In fact, it feels hard for me too, especially as it pertains to this woman. Yet, freedom, for me, has been deciding — I don’t have to choose her as my best friend. In this, I can love her, pray for her, smile at her — with some wise distance between us. Love doesn’t always have to put itself back in the boxing ring again, the way it did last time.
I bless her. I hope the best for her. But, she will not be my nearest and dearest friend…
I feel happier now. I am not out of control; I am in God’s love.
Who have you been judging, accusing or condemning? Who might you need to stop hating so you can start loving them — if even from a distance?
Prayer: Father, I feel hurt. I feel angry. I am asking you to forgive me for the anger and hatred that I’m feeling. I am also asking that you give me grace to forgive this person who has offended me. I want to love again. In this, I choose to forgive ___ for ___. I let them go right now to you, Father. I know that you are the best Father. I ask you to show me whether I need to talk to this person, pray for them or love them from a distance. Give me wisdom. I let go of all my offense. I thank you for helping me in this. In Jesus’ name, Amen.