I remember the exact moment he said it to me. It wasn’t a dramatic event. We were washing dishes and the kids had gone to bed. My back was to him preparing the lunch boxes for the next day. Our eyes didn’t even meet. He just said in his calm, gentle way, “perhaps it is time to stop trying”. I nodded with no words. I knew. He had known but he knew he could say it now.
There was this person in my life that had simply detached. I tried for years to reconnect. I made it my personal mission to win back their affections, try harder, accept blame for something even when I didn’t know what it was. I knew deep down I hadn’t done anything which, in many ways, is worse. Give me something concrete and I can say I’m sorry. But, the not knowing what you did – that brings anguish.
So, I tried. I called. I invited. I sent encouraging texts and emails. Most times I got a simple “no thank you”. But, other times I got silence. My husband listened, prayed, encouraged, and at times offered advice. But, mostly he listened. Until, this night.
This night, his words changed me. It was just a quite release. And when I put the last dish away, I was a new person. I went upstairs, got on my knees, and said, “Lord, if there is sin in my life, bring it to light. I’ve tried to repair and restore this relationship but it isn’t working. I’m going to release this to you and trust that if this is the right thing you will affirm it. I forgive and I am at peace. If you bring this person back into my life, then let me offer grace, mercy, and forgiveness that only you can do”.
The days went on without any major emotion. The day-to-day hustle of life was in full swing. As I was reading one more morning in Micah, I stumbled upon a verse that brought me comfort.
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”. Micah 7:18-19
While my relationship with this friend seemed over, I had a deeper love for them than I can’t explain.
That is the beauty of Jesus. His story of redemption is so much better than anything we can fathom. I came to the peaceful conclusion that Jesus knew all the details of my situation and He could carry it completely.
It would be easy to say “I’m done with this person. They treated me poorly and I have no time to waste on people like that”. But, Jesus said love. He said forgive. He said restore. He said keep no records of wrongs. I miss my friend but my hope is not in what they do but what Jesus did.
God promises over and over in His word that our sins are forgiven. How then can we withhold that same love and forgiveness from others?
Friend, are you holding on to an old wound today? Ask Jesus to heal it. Ask him to bring forgiveness to you and then prepare your heart to forgive others.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32