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Week 6 - Personal Story

This week’s story highlights the destructive power of the tongue and the forgiveness necessary to respond as God desires. If you need to forgive someone who has hurt you with unkind words, you may want to check out the four promises of forgiveness from Peacemaker Ministries.

1. "I will not dwell on this incident."
2. "I will not bring up this incident again and use it against you."
3. "I will not talk to others about this incident."
4. "I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our personal relationship."

Carole’s story
I was once had a very close friend in my church who had a leadership position in one of the ministries in the church where I was also serving as a volunteer. On this particular day she was assigned as a greeter; instead, this friend came downstairs and began to help me with my duties. I approached her and told her that I needed her to greet the people in her assigned area. At this point, she turned on me and began to call me names, etc. I was very stunned as I thought we were friends and from the things she was saying to me, it was very obvious to me that not only did she not consider me to be a friend, she did not even like me.

I was devastated and sought counsel from godly people. One of those told me that I needed to shoulder the responsibility, die to self, and apologize to her. This was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I went to her house and apologized for having upset her and asked her to forgive me. She said she forgave me but she continued to berate me. Over the months, I kept reading scriptures on forgiveness. I would tell God that I had forgiven her but then in my mind I would rehearse how she had wronged me and not the reverse. No matter how hard I prayed and how often I made the statement, “I choose to forgive,” I got no peace on the matter. Finally about one year after the incident, I wrote her an e-mail (she no longer was speaking to me) and told her how she had hurt me and the difficulty I was having with forgiveness. I told her that I was choosing to forgive her for hurting me whether she forgave me or not and at that point, I found peace. She never responded and continued to walk past me without speaking. That was 5 years ago. I have been invited to many functions where she is present. I have chosen to be pleasant to her and to continue to pray for her.

As I went to write this story I had to search my heart again to make certain that I had truly forgiven her. I began to ask myself if I truly loved her with the love that Jesus commanded of us. I had to go back to a period of repentance until I was certain that I do love her and could in fact be friends with her again should the opportunity present itself. The interesting thing is that the day I spent this time in repentance and prayer about her for this article, I received my first Christmas card from her in a number of years. Perhaps God is working in more than one heart on this issue.

I do know that the tongue can wreck friendships and bring great pain in the process. I probably spoke more sharply to her than I should have as I was under a great deal of stress that day. I never cease to be amazed at how deeply this one shattered friendship hurt me.

1 comment:

Twisting His Arm said...

I really liked the four promises of forgiveness from Peacemaker Ministries. I want to try and remember them, or at least have them somewhere handy, so I can rehearse them when I am struggling with forgiveness.