Sunday, October 28, 2012

31 Days of Story {Day 28} A Hard Lesson In Forgiveness

It was 1999, and he was my best "guy" friend.

We hung out mostly in a group of 8-12 friends. We were a tight crew. But he & I had a special connection. He was witty & sarcastic & boyishly charming. I was analytical & strong-willed & intellectually-challenging. Everyone knew we had a unique friendship, but it was "purely platonic."

No. Seriously. It was.

Was, that is, until that summer.
The summer after he broke up with his girlfriend from back home.
The summer we hung out in Maine with our friends.
The summer that everything changed.

We crossed the boundaries of friendship, and things would never be the same again.

At first it was thrill-me-to-my-toes exciting.
We were "us" but now.... MORE!
And it was fun!

But then, real life happened.

We went back to college, back to classes, back to our normal routine.

And she came too -- his ex.
She was now a part of "our" world.
THAT was not supposed to happen.
My world was spinning

Suddenly, he pulled away from me. He needed space from both of us to figure things out. It was hard, but he was my friend, right? So I wanted to give him room to grow and to know his own heart & head.

Then one day the bottom fell out of our relationship.
 In one day my heart broke.

He knew my schedule, so he had been avoiding me, although I hadn't realized that at the time. He didn't count on my meeting being cancelled that night. He didn't plan for me to be in the cafeteria a little later then usual for supper.

That's when I saw them.
The two of them.

I guess he "figured it out" without telling me.

I couldn't understand.
My mind did not want to register.
Why would he lie to me?
He is my friend.
He WAS my friend.

If Taylor Swift had been selling albums back then, THIS would have been the time to blast one of her angsty love break up songs....

These words pounded over and over and over in my head...

I'm not his choice.
I'm not good enough,
pretty enough,
smart enough,
I'm not ENOUGH!


That is the moment the darkness crept into my soul, my very being. As the days passed, I would wake up each morning in such agony and pain and HATRED. I felt betrayed, abandoned, stupid, faithless, ignorant, unwise, alone. The feeling in my gut was like someone was daily twisting my intestines. I know that sounds intense and dramatic, but I felt like I was walking in a fog. I would read Scriptures almost mindlessly to just "stuff the Word" into me. I would get ready for the day and just beg the Holy Spirit to help me.

But nothing seemed to work. I would cross paths with him. Or her. Or him & her together. I tried to face things. I tried to let it go. I tried to "get over it!"

But the anger seemed to just build and build and with that the shame. 

How could I let this happen?
How could I be so stupid?

And the bitterness just increased.

Months passed, and one day, I went to a revival service. I don't remember what the message was about or anything that was said in particular except the invitation to the altar at the end. I went forward and I felt that tugging at my heart strings.

It's time to forgive. It's time to let go.

And instructions followed.

Write him a letter. Write her a letter. Ask them for forgiveness.

WHAT, LORD? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!! There is NO WAY! I didn't do anything wrong. He blatantly lied to me, and she rudely ignores me. I am the one who has a RIGHT to be angry.

And the quietest of whispers....

Haven't you held anger, resentment, & bitterness in your heart against them?

Well, yeah, but THEY don't know that! I have been nice.

My child....Forgive.....

That night, I sat down at my computer, feeling compelled by a power larger than myself to such an extent, that I knew if I did not obey, the sky was going to open up and lightening would strike hard.
Not to punish, but to get my attention....

"Hey, girl! I'm talking to you...!!!"

So with trembling fingers, I typed out my battle-worn apologies.

It was hard.
It was real.
It was honest.

The next morning, I went and dropped them off at the campus post boxes.

When I walked out of the CPO that day, it was the funniest thing. I am THROUGHLY convinced, the sky was bluer, the clouds were fluffier, the bird-song was sweeter, and there was a spring in my step.

Something amazing happened.
Something surprising and wholly miraculous
Accepting God's forgiveness and requesting it in return from others with NO AGENDA resulted in this beautiful thing...


Forgiveness set me free!!

"Therefore if the Son makes you free, 
you shall be free indeed."
John 8:36

From the archives -- 2/24/2011

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Mary Gemmill said... Best Blogger Tips

aha- YES- forgiveness sets US free. Well done!

Cara Sexton said... Best Blogger Tips

Funny how it's our own bitterness that keeps us in bondage over the choices of others, isn't it? Loved seeing your heart here again, Lindsey. It's been so hard for me to make time for blogs but glad I clicked on over today. Love you, friend! Hope you're resting up from the weekend and you stay safe and dry in this storm!

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