Friendship: She Took Everything.
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a brutal one, and the author is anonymous. I cannot imagine experiencing this myself, and am so challenged by her words. Every week I see grace take a new form, and I am so grateful. – Lauren
Friendship is a beautiful thing, but it can also be an extremely scary thing. C.S. Lewis said it best when he said, “To love is to be vulnerable.”
The date was Christmas 2010 and I had just come off the mission field. I had followed the Lord’s calling in my life. I left everyone I loved, including my family, friends, and a boyfriend of 2.5 years for several months to go love on people who did not have the love of Christ. I was scared to death of leaving them, but I was more concerned with being obedient. I resolved that being out of the Lord’s will was a scarier place to be that 3,000 miles away from a boy. The Lord would bless me for that, right? Of course.
Well, I came back, and 99% of me was expecting an airport proposal. We graduated college, and we had put years into this thing. I mean, we lived in the South for goodness sake; marriage is what you do. But alas, no proposal, and instead, heartache.
* * *
She was one of my best friends in the entire world. She was someone I laughed with and cried with for years. She knew the very best and the very worst of me, and she loved me despite all of it. Right? But if so, I couldn’t understand why she would do this to me.
Had it all been a lie? Had every word of wisdom she spoke into my life been a facade? Had every secret I told her been a mistake? If she loved me and if she loved Jesus, how could she pursue the love of my life? How could she enter into an emotional relationship with him? How could she lean in and kiss him? How could she have sex with him?
These questions plagued my heart and mind, and I couldn’t focus on anything else.
Most importantly, if she loved me, how could she take everything?
Overtime, through the loss of many friendships due to trust issues and lines drawn in the sand, bitterness became my friend.
Bitterness soothed the pain. Bitterness patted me on the back and whispered into my ear, “You are justified in your hatred.”
As a follower of Christ, I am to believe that we are all fallen. If I profess that I have done nothing good, how could I still walk around with some sort of self-righteous inkling that I am better than anyone else? Oh but no, I would never say that… out loud. But that’s what bitterness is; it is self-righteousness. At its root, bitterness says, “You hurt me. I would never do that. I’m better than you.”
That’s a scary place to be.
The moment I forgot I was as broken as she was, the moment pride got in the way, that’s when friendship became the enemy. That’s when I began to believe the lie that she had taken everything, and if I let anyone else in, they would take everything too. I lost the truth that we are all just broken people trying to navigate this thing called life.
When the world comes AT us with, “An eye for an eye” and, “Oh no, NO SHE DIDN’T,” Jesus calls us to pray for the very people who have hurt us.
Not because our situations will automatically change when we pray for our enemies; no, it is us that changes.
When I pray I begin to see just who I am before the Lord and just how much he has forgiven me. I know I cannot pray and hold onto any ounce of pride for very long. Even if I begin to pray from bitterness and with a heart that only needs change in others, the prayer always changes me. As I let Jesus change me, I began to realize that I am no better than those who have hurt me, than those who have shaken me to the very CORE of my existence. As these realizations come to fruition, I sat and wondered how many people I have hurt. I began to wonder just how many people cried over my utter selfishness and disdain for anyone’s happiness but my own for the 20 years I was without Christ and for the 5 that I was with him, battling my flesh.
When I pray I begin to see truth, and only then do I fully grasp just how much I need God and see myself for who I truly am without Him. When I open my eyes to fully see all the yuck in my heart, I can no longer point fingers at anyone. The thought of how much He has forgiven me causes me to fall on my face in humility.
Those who are forgiven much become the humble, the salt of the earth. They become people who forgive much.
As I rest in my own forgiveness and as I begin to forgive others, my bitterness leaves.
If she and I were to never reconcile, I bet 95 out of 100 practicing Christians would understand. They would say, “That’s okay! That makes sense.” However, 2 years later, and just 2 months after I let Jesus change my heart, she and I are fully reconciled. I now live states away from her, but just the other day with tear filled eyes and the most joyful heart I have ever had on earth, she and I sat down and admitted some lies we were still dealing with from that time. We rebuked them in the name of Jesus. We shared scripture with each other, and we prayed for each other.
She will be a life-long friend.
That’s what Jesus does. THAT’S WHAT GRACE DOES.
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