Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Betrayal (Part II)

(You might want to read the previous post before reading this one...) 

'I'd really love to see you...' 

These are the statements that torment my soul in the instances of betrayal. 'I've already forgiven you and yet you still want to maintain a relationship with me? How dare you.' are among the first of my thoughts upon receiving such a request. How much more can people ask from me, anyway? Don't know they know the pain they've caused hasn't vanished? Don't they know that every time I think about it, it hurts? Don't they know that the stabs of betrayal aren't a one time thing? My heart bleeds because of them. 

And yet... they'd really love to see me? Why?! Doesn't it also remind them of what they have done? I don't get it, but it doesn't change what is. 

But, really? Really, there was no shedding of blood on my part. That was already done. The price has already been paid. Their trespasses are forgiven. Who am I to say anything different? 

I don't always want it to be that easy, though. Maybe it feels like they're getting off scot-free. Maybe I want them to pay for the sins committed against me. My flesh screams for retribution. I want them to get what they deserve. And it doesn't work like that... 

'I'd really love to see you...'

It's frustrating because I thought I had forgiven them. Hadn't I? Hadn't I truly meant it when I looked them in the eyes and told them they were forgiven? Hadn't I realized how necessary it was when I realized that I am really no different from them? 

So why the anger? Why the desire to continually distance myself from them? Why the desire for revenge? This doesn't feel like forgiveness... 

What kind of Christian am I, anyway? 

'I'd really love to see you...'

It lingers in the back of my mind, a response is necessary. But I don't want to see you.  That seems a bit harsh. I shuffle through a mental list of polite dismissals, but nothing feels appropriate. 

Because, the honest trust is that I still care about them. In the brief moments that I am able to set the pain aside, I'm reminded that they are human... that they are broken... that they are my friend. In my lowest moments, in my darkest transgressions, wouldn't I, too, long for the embrace of those closest to me? 

'I'd really love to see you...'

Let's do it. 
Coffee. I can handle coffee. My time is limited, but I think this matters... I think that you matter. You've hurt me, you've betrayed me, you've turned your back on me... but you still matter. 

Deep within me, and perhaps it's not even me at all, I know that even at the cost of myself....you still matter. Your heart matters, your brokenness matters, your dreams matter, your passions matter, your apologies matter... your soul matters

Despite the ways you've messed up, and despite the ways that those mess-ups have included me...somewhere, in the midst of it all, I love you. I care about your life. I care about what you're doing. I care about where you're at and where you're headed. I want good for you. 

A short hour of coffee with you reminds me of this. 
And maybe you'd really love to see me, but I really needed to see you. Because the Lord reminded me of His kindness in that hour. The Lord reminded me that when I choose to act in forgiveness (regardless of how I feel), that it's better. He redeems my own heart of wickedness and sets my thoughts on things above. 

No retribution is necessary.
The price has been paid.

You are forgiven. Truly. 
I pray that I not be the person who keeps you confined to chains, but that you would walk freely into the life He has intended for you. Because it is good. It is bigger than you. It matters. And despite the mistakes of the past (and probably ones of the future), He is continually calling you to better. Keep walking in that. 

* * * 

If we're being honest, I'll probably wrestle with forgiveness most of my life...and maybe you'll join me in that, especially with those who have hurt us the most. I think it's okay. Because, I think when our hearts our opened to it, the Lord will repeatedly bring us back to this place again. I think when we choose to act in forgiveness that He honors it. 

And what is acting in it? I don't know. Sometimes I think it means sitting down to a cup of coffee with someone who has hurt you. Sometimes it means diligently praying for them. Sometimes it means honoring them in the way you speak about them. Sometimes it means maintaining a relationship with them again. Sometimes it means an email, a text, a phone call, a little something to remind both of you that you meant what you said: you've forgiven them (...right?). 

There's nothing perfect or simple about it. It's always hard, and it's always painful. I think forgiveness has a lot to do with considering others better than yourselves...even the ones who have hurt you. 

I don't know who it is for you, but I'm guessing there's probably someone. Someone you've been avoiding, someone you've been talking bad about, someone who probably 'deserves' it... but someone who needs forgiveness, who needs love, who needs grace. Someone whose soul matters. 

Live a life of grace. 
And may you find abundance as you truly exemplify the Gospel. 

* * *

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1 comment:

  1. thanks for this post, debbie. came at just the right time for me. hope you're doing well! xo