Knocking on the door, she prayed God would give her the courage to carry through to completion the journey she’d been on for so long. Her “friend” opened the door, and she recognized him to be the person she was looking for and immediately shared her heart with him. He forgave her and a new friendship was forged. They shared coffee and conversation for the next several hours. Walking away from his home, my friend knew she’d done the right thing.
It struck me that this seemed so dramatic. Who even remembers what went on in grade school? I admit, I haven’t a clue what the offense was, but that it bothered my friend is significant. How often do we, even if inadvertently, hurt someone through a negative comment, a slip of the tongue, or gossip? Or worse, what if words were said in anger? Sometimes the words we speak when angry are cruel and emotionally damaging.
When we speak in anger or deliberately hurt someone, it is sinful. We, as Believers are supposed to build each other up, not tear down. The Bible discusses sin in absolute terms. Sin cuts us off from God. Our moral and spiritual conduct are relevant to our relationship with Him, just as loyalty and love in marriage to our spouse here on Earth. It is what cements the connection with another. When that trust has been broken there is separation.
So my friend’s efforts at making things right with her friend, even though it had been many years ago wasn’t an extreme position after all! Forgiveness is vital to building bridges. When we let anger and resentment build, it is we who are hurting.
I have another friend who has chosen to break the ties with his family because of lifestyle and choices that has hurt his family. It’s a sad thing to watch as it rips the relationship apart. But this friend has chosen his path and will have to deal with the consequences, if not now, then later. The time will come when “family” may be no longer of this world, and forgiveness cannot be asked for or granted – on either side.
As we move into another week of the Christmas season, ask yourself if there is someone who needs forgiveness or someone who needs to forgive you. It’s hard to swallow pride and admit a wrong, and sometimes it’s even hard to grant forgiveness, because the pain was so intense. But it’s what we are called to do. It’s what Jesus taught. We all make mistakes and even bad decisions. We can, however, make things right, if we want to. To not make things right is sinful. That sin can not only separate us from those we care about here on earth, it also separates us from the Father.
Forgive someone, even if you can’t make an immediate connection with them….. or ask forgiveness, if you are the offender. Make your Christmas joyous!
Merry Christmas, everyone!