One week ago I had my heart broken. I called a friend to share what I considered to be good news. She answered without realizing she had answered. I know this because I heard her ask her husband to check the caller ID on the other phone because “it isn’t showing up on this one”. When he read off the number (I could hear him plainly), I heard her groan my name and then she proceeded to say some very hurtful (and untrue I might add) things about me and then she said “I wish they (including me) would just leave me alone”. Before she said these things I was yelling into the phone to let her know we were connected, but she must have set the phone down because I heard a lot of background noise and she never knew I was there, hearing every word. Eventually the phone disconnected.
I sat there with many emotions raging, but I must say I was not actually shocked. I knew her to be a woman who gossiped and slandered as easily as she took a breath, but somehow I thought our friendship was different. That it was real. All those times she talked about mothers at the school or in-laws, I figured she just needed to vent and tried to be supportive all the while trying to redirect the conversation to a more positive, or at least neutral, direction. I also knew, from her own proud admission, that she has a history of not being truthful. In fact, she once verbally delighted at the thought that she was a “good liar”. After hearing what I heard, it became obvious that I was not safe from her tongue lashing anymore than the next person.
Now, normally I would not blog about such personal observations of another person. I do not share this in an immature effort to slander her. I want you to understand the source of my pain and conflict.
Within a few minutes of processing what I heard, I knew I had three choices. I could: 1. rant, rave and declare pay back(which I spent a few minutes doing); 2. pout and cry over the betrayal (which I have done a little, okay, more than a little) or 3. forgive and walk away.
Jesus would (and does) forgive for far worse transgressions. Thus, I must do the same.
Here’s my conflict though: forgiveness is easy when it is desired. Meaning, I would find no problem forgiving if she were to approach me with an apology. Yes, she knows that I overheard. During my #1 reaction phase, I phoned her mother and asked her to relay a message for me. I told her mother to tell her I am sorry if I bothered her and that I would not do it again. I meant it. I also told my sister, who mentioned it to her that same night. The selfish-human part of me wanted her to know I over heard.
I understand that we all sometimes say things that we don’t mean as a result of fatigue or feeling overwhelmed at the end of the day. I can easily get OVER what she SAID. What still hurts me is that she knows that I overheard and has not attempted to contact me to talk it over. I am hurt over what has NOT BEEN SAID. Her week-long silence leads me to come to two possible conclusions: either she 1. meant what she said; or 2. finds her pride more important than our friendship.
Either reason leads me to #3 of possible reactions. I forgive but what choice do I have but to walk away? My heart still aches at the loss of a friendship that spanned many years, but if she is unwilling to reconcile what more can I do? Jesus tells us to “turn the other cheek”, but does He say anything about us willingly ASKING to be slapped?
Forgiveness does not mean the transgression is condonable and that we should accept it for what it is.
Furthermore, God tells us that “evil company corrupts good habits” (1Cor. 15:33). Thus, I have to think that while I’ll continue to love and pray for this woman, it is best if we part ways. What good can come from a close relationship with a woman who so easily slanders others and is so slow to apologize?
Jesus knocks and we must open the door to invite Him in. He does not just come barging in.
I must surrender my human emotions to Christ and pray for His guidance, direction and comfort. I also trust He will place people in my life that will encourage and strengthen me in my walk. I also pray that I am a good ambassador for Christ as a woman offering encouragement and words of wisdom to others.
Have you found yourself in a similar situation? How did you respond and what lessons did you learn from it? I’d love to know!