Sometimes I have these days where things just start 'clicking' into place. These are the days that you just know God gave you in order to grow and change you. I'm usually pretty aware of my growth and how I'm changing, but this one sort of snuck up on me.
From the moment I decided to live a life for Christ, my purpose has been to 'demonstrate an authentic Christian life' for others to see. Some of you might think that means to show people what a 'perfect Christian' I am. No, that's not what I'm talking about at all. What I want to 'demonstrate' for people is a journey that includes the real stuff! Sure, the good stuff is awesome and I want people to see the joy of Lord in my life. But I also want to share with people the suffering that we all face whether we are Christians or not. I want to share the everyday mistakes that make us who we are.
You see, living for God is not about following a bunch of rules and learning what we should do, say, act like, look like, speak like, etc. It's about a relationship with Christ. If you're a Christian and you've been 'stuffing' the real stuff down deep inside in order to 'look' like you're doing the 'Christian' thing, know that these things do not go away! Your 'stuffing' bag just becomes full and it starts to bleed out into every area of your life.
I got together with friends last night at a coffee shop and we talked about life, kids, husbands, etc. I guess a comment was made that sparked a little 'I'm going to hold you accountable right now' moment. And guess what? It was me being held accountable! So this is where I share the 'less than lovely' moments of my life in order to help someone. ((SIGH))
So in conversation, my friend and wonderful mentor says to me, "Kelly, are you offended?". I say, "No, why would I be offended?". As I listed reason after reason why I was not offended (over a situation that I can't discuss here) I realized, I am offended! I had separated myself from a situation all-together and didn't feel there was reason to 'revisit'. Because I knew God wanted me to separate from the situation, I assumed I didn't need to deal with the offense. Wrong!
The coffee shop was about to close and we had to leave, but on the ride home (we rode together), I confessed, "I am offended", but I don't know why or how. I realized that because I didn't know what to call the offense, I hadn't really dealt with it at all. I had, in fact, set healthy boundaries in this situation, but ... (this was my first 'aha' moment)... I told my friend, "I just don't know how to define it!" And from here, I have to forgive... (another 'aha' moment). I have been 'stuffing' and didn't even know it!
My situation is complicated, but I will share what I'm learning about forgiveness.
1) It's not for the other person, it's for you.
2) Forgiveness doesn't mean reconciliation.
3) We have to separate the person from the offense.
This is interesting to me. Because as soon as we do something wrong, the way we internalize and justify it to others is ...'I'm a good person, don't judge me based on some stupid thing I did'. This is exactly what we have to do for others as well. The meaning of Mark 12:31, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself', becomes much clearer to me now. :)
So this is where I am with a situation that involves forgiveness. It is just the beginning of the process of forgiving, but as my friend pointed out to me, we can't let these offenses lie dormant so that they come up later and work against us in our own ministries. Who wants to deal with this stuff, right? None of us do. None of us like to be held accountable for our actions, but if we just humble ourselves and let God work in a teachable spirit, we learn, we grow, and we help others do the same.