“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
It was at a family gathering that things kinda fell apart between me and a family member. I won’t say who, only that it was NOT Harold. We might have a little tiff now and then, but I’m thankful that through the years we’ve grown to deeply understand each other and how one another ticks. 🙂
This person made a judgement call on me, because they couldn’t understand what I was doing and why. But because they didn’t understand, they cast a judgement on the motivations of my heart, and whether what I was doing was even valid. That hurt me to my core, and frankly, made me angry. So I was like a wounded cat, with my claws bared. I struck out in defense, all the while using that hurt to self-righteously say things to validate myself. We both raised our voices, and the kids heard the whole thing. It was a little messy. I’m only sharing this because THIS IS LIFE. IT HAPPENS. We can’t beat ourselves up only because we’re human.
So we left for vacation the next day, and I was able to continue to stew in the juices of hurt & regret. After the heat of the moment had passed, and time was able to soothe the loud echoes of our argument, I had clarity now that I didn’t have before. Sitting there in the long car ride to Washington, I realized that I was too much blinded by my own hurt to see the hurt that I was causing my loved one. I couldn’t see past my own anger, wounds and indignation to see that I was causing almost the same thing to my relative. And what a nice thing to have and think upon during a week long vacation! I wasn’t able to resolve anything until I got back, so…I just tried to forget about it. Yeah, a lot of good that did me. When I feel something, I feel it intensely. Well, this was the Lord working on me. Telling me to give it to Him, the only One who can heal broken hearts and restore relationships. So I knew there was only one thing for me to do: write a letter. A peace offering. 🙂 This letter expressed my feelings in a loving way; making it clear what my boundaries are. I said, “we are different, and that’s okay. Neither one is right or wrong, or better or worse because we’re different. God loves us both the same.” Then I went on to say that I loved them and I know they love me too. I told them how much I appreciate them.
Can I just say that coming to that point was extremely painful and difficult? I had to kill my pride and look at it from their angle, even though I wasn’t the one who provoked the argument. But someone had to step up to the plate, or our relationship would stay damaged and fragile. I need to tell you, friend, that if we want awesome, amazing relationships, this is where it’s at. We’ve got to do this. I knew that having strain in my relationship with this person was NOT okay. As soon as I finished the letter, I had tears in my eyes and I knew without a doubt that it would result in a major healing in our relationship. I was obedient to the Lord’s voice, The Holy Spirit. I’m praying that we can all look through lenses of compassion with our loved ones, and make peace offerings of forgiveness whenever necessary. We need to love our friends, neighbors and enemies alike and let kindness win. When we do that, we win.