This past Wednesday, something happened that left me in a storm of emotions -anger, hurt, regret, loss. A friend — someone in whom I confided and with whom I was very open about a subject on which we disagreed but whom I counseled about how to lead in a touchy situation at his request — turned out to be a Judas. I learned in a very public way that my trust was misplaced and that this person not only was not my friend but lacked integrity and honor. I was – and am – devastated.
I hesitate to write such harsh words. And you would be right. But I share such a harsh tale to talk about the spiritual and personal issues is raises for me.
Today – on Friday – I am struggling a bit with forgiveness. It will be a long journey. This person will likely not be my friend ever again. I certainly won’t trust him. Nor, I think, does God or inner peace require that I do so. But I have to come to a place of forgiveness. Today I want to be angry and self-righteous. But I need to move toward forgiveness and charity.
This is not the first time I have faced betrayal – probably not you either. And it won’t be the last. But I have learned at least that bitterness only takes root and grows. Regret becomes a sinkhole into which we fall if we are not careful. Unforgiveness poisons our spirits and shrivels our own experience of God’s grace and forgiveness.
After all these years I am still devastated when these things come. But I am learning better all the time how to live into and with that pain and move toward forgiveness and newness. If you struggle with this I am with you… but the struggle is worth it. Grow up with me into forgiveness and graciousness.
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
Mmathew 5:18 The Message