Restoring the Lost Petal

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Clearing the Air: Letting Go of Offense and Growing in Grace

I had a chance to clear the air yesterday with a woman I consider a friend.

We didn’t start out as friends.

We started out on opposite sides of the computer screen and what seemed like worlds apart.

Clearing the Air: Grace and Offense

I was a reader, absorbing words that cut like a knife through my soul and rumbled my spirit. She was a blogger penning her take on Truth.

She was filtering her words through her experiences and so was I.

The words sat on the shelf of my heart for some time before I was faced with a choice to harbor ill feelings or let them go for the good of the group….a group we were both going to belong to.

The Lord dealt with me and I found my way past the bitterness and offense. I’d forgiven her even though I still disagreed with the words I read a few years ago.

The Lord is again dealing with me; stretching me, growing me even more. I’m sure it is preparation. But it’s scary….. It is breathtaking and it is humbling.

Yesterday, the Lord brought this whole thing to my mind.  I searched for the post to see how unkind my comments were to her because, while I don’t remember the words, I clearly remember the hurt, and hurting people say things that aren’t so nice sometimes.

I couldn’t find it.

So I reached out, in faith, with a prayer to offer up my apology for not handing the situation with more grace myself.

I couldn’t find the post because she had removed it.  She realized it wasn’t worded in way that conveyed truth in love.  She had a “What in the world was I thinking moment” and realized, while truth was spoken, it might not have been conveyed in the best way.

See the Lord has worked on her heart too.

And coming together to clear the air has brought us closer.  No, we’ve never met. I’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying a cup of coffee and chatting with her in person, but God can foster a friendship even when there are many miles between.  Because God works with our spirits, and between them there is no time or space.  My step of faith opened a door for growth.

She has learned that truth spoken in love is the best way to speak truth. And it’s the biblical way.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:1

I have learned, again, that letting go of offense and not allowing any root of bitterness to remain is the only way to move past pain caused by others, even if the pain was caused unknowingly.  If you can’t get past the pain, it will eat at you from the inside out, and you will not reach your full potential – the full life God has for you.

Reality

You see, we all filter our perception of Truth through the lens of our life.  So while we speak or hear truth, unless our vertical relationship with Christ is solid and we put our spirit man in front, we will almost always get it wrong.

What is the lens of our life?  Our past experiences, our life at this moment, and the things we harbor inside that we haven’t dealt with.  So when we say XYZ is Truth but we don’t say it in love with grace but from an attitude of all or nothing, take it or leave it, we might as well not say it.  And when we hear XYZ as Truth, but we filter it through past events in our lives rather than take it to God in our spirit and allow Him to show us fully, we run the risk of leaving with bitterness and offense rather than the Truth.

This woman of God and I both had a chance to evaluate the Truth we were trying to digest through life experiences, and I believe we both realized that those experiences were put in our path from God to show us that while the Bible is Truth, we live in a world that is fallen and therefore the Biblical truths we want so much for others aren’t as easy to achieve as penning words and rebuttals.  Sometimes, it takes walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, or walking a mile beside someone who is going through something you never thought possible.  These experiences grow us and they grow our understanding of how we can help people.  We either harness the lessons from reality or they harness us. One way allows us to take on a yoke that is easy; the other keeps us in the chains of bondage.  

Harness or be harnessed

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
~Matthew 11:29-30

Truth never changes.

But the love that comes from within changes how the Truth is offered and how it is received.

How are you handing the Truth?  Are you extending it in love and receiving it with an open heart?  

I urge you to ask God if you are harboring any bitterness and offense.  Let Him show you how to release it and how to forgive.  I urge you too to ask the Lord if you’ve spoken or penned words that may have caused pain.  Ask Him to show you specifically if you need to apologize or reword something.

It is never too late to redeem and be redeemed.

 

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