Heart Check: The Message…My Truth

Forgiveness

Disclaimer: I will be very vulnerable. Please be gentle with my heart.

| Heart Check: The Message…My Truth |

This weekend I was smacked with a harsh truth concerning Christen Diane Rouson.

Once I finally kick you out of my life, you aren’t welcome to come back.

Let me try to justify… I am loyal, trusting, and forgiving.  I believe in giving the benefit of the doubt, exhausting EVERY effort to make it work, and I’ll extend a second chance 1,000,000 times.  Oh, but time 1,000,001????  Tuh!!!  It is not easy for me to be done with a person, but once I’m done, I’m DONE AND DONE!!!  What you must understand is it takes a lot for me to let you into my private spaces…my holies of holies, and if you violate that space, you’re out!  It doesn’t matter if you apologize, extend the olive branch, and attempt to right your wrongs, I’m not sending for the rose bearers to drop pedals at your feet as you walk back into my life (movie reference: Coming to America).  That’s not the bad part though…  Once I’m done with you, to me, you are forever the person you were when you were invited to leave or walked out of my life.  For example, if you were manipulative and conniving, a liar and a cheater, nasty and spiteful, or selfish and narcissistic, that’s who you will ALWAYS be to me REGARDLESS of your reasoning.  You could have had a “Come to Jesus Meeting,” attended 12 years of therapy, or even changed your identity, and you will still be who you were to me.

The harsh truth: I am judgmental and a bit close-minded. Ouch!

I take pride in being a safe place and a “No Judgement Zone” for people.  You could literally come to me and tell me that you’re addicted to crack and, other than telling you that crack is whack, I’m gonna hug you, try to find the “why,” and ask if you’re ready to be free.  I am grateful that people feel that they can trust me and open up without being treated as if something is wrong with them.  I guess my non-judgement is reserved for those who are in my good graces.  But those who are not? You are the scum that you proved yourself to be and I’m not interested in any transformations you’ve undergone or deliverances you’ve endured.

I am sincerely ashamed of myself. 

Over the weekend an ex of mine texted my phone.  He was THE LAST person I was expecting (or desiring) to hear from.  Honestly, I thought I had blocked his number last year…shoot.  Anyway, two years post relationship and after over 15 months of ZERO communication, he reached out with a request to “chat” and “get my thoughts about some things.” 😒😒.  Immediate reaction:

What do WE have to talk about?

For what?

This is about to be a sheer waste of my &@$%*?! time.

I’m NOT in here for it.

And my direct quote… “I’m not even interested in him presenting himself faultless before His presence with exceeding joy.”  (Bible/church reference)

I was instantly angered to the point of tears simply from the receiving of a text message. Just the simple inquiry pissed me off.  But why????  Because in my mind, he was the exact man he was the last time we yelled our way off the phone 15 months ago.  Whether or not he was different for real, he hadn’t changed to me.  I mentally rejected him based solely on what I remembered of him and what I chose to know of him (cause I don’t bit more know him anymore).  As a matter of fact, ironically, his name came up in a conversation with my brother just hours before the infamous text.  My brother tried to convince me how much ole dude had changed and how he was on the right track.  My response… And?????  😒😒😒😒  As far as I was concerned, once a _____________________ (fill in the blank), always a ____________________. P.S. He was NOT welcomed in my today…yesterday was hard enough.

Then my [acquaintance morphing into a] friend looked me dead in my face and said, “That’s selfish and judgmental.”  Of course I responded with a sarcastic response for good measure, but truthfully, I was upset.  Why did he get to be a ______________, _______________, ________________, and a &@$%*?! _______________ and I have to be the one who is open-minded and forgiving enough to hear him out not from what I remember of him but as the man he is now???  Unfair, right?

Let me tell you a quick story…  (P.S. it’s a story from the Bible…)

There once was a man named Onesimus, and he was a slave to Philemon — a wealthy man.  It is said that while under Philemon’s keep, Onesimus stole from him and fled from Colossae to Rome.  While in Rome, he somehow met the Apostle Paul who was imprisoned.  Things to know:

  1. Paul was responsible for helping lead Philemon to Christianity; Philemon later became a minister and was considered a saint in some Christian sectors.
  2. Paul also was instrumental in leading Onesimus to the Christian faith.

So Paul wrote a letter to his old friend Mr. Philemon (Philemon 1:1-25).  I won’t post all 25 verses, so feel free to click the link and read for yourself, but here’s a bit of the story…

Paul was sending Onesimus back to Colosse, and he appealed to Philemon to receive Onesimus, who Paul refers to as his son and his “very heart,” once again.  He mentions that the former slave was once useless to Philemon but he is now useful for both of them.  Furthermore and most importantly, he asked that Onesimus not be accepted as a slave but as a dear brother to Philemon…a brother.  😒

Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.”

Philemon 1:15-16 [New International Version]

Lastly, he offers to cover any wrongs or debts that Onesimus owes to Philemon.

How does this story relate to me, my judgement, and closed-mindedness?

I like to take the word of God and sermons that I hear and make them relative so that they can become applicable.  In this story, I picture the Apostle Paul acting as the “Jesus” of the text.  (No, I’m not calling Paul Jesus… Stick me and be blesed.  #churchyphrases)  He is responsible for leading both men to a better life.  He helps to release them from their past and connect them to a future with the possibility of hope.  Isn’t that what Jesus does for us when we accept His salvation?  He removes the guilt of and our enslavement to our sin, and He aligns us with the will of the Father so that we may have not only eternal life but abundant life.  So if Paul is metaphor for “Jesus,”  I must be Philemon, and Onesimus is my ex.  My ex wronged me just as Onesimus did to Philemon, then he fled my life leaving me with a loss.  But in the scripture Philemon is asked to receive him again AND not consider him a slave but a brother…because he is useful to him now.  The whole story boils down to…. FORGIVENESS.  Ugh…that again!

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.  If I speak God’s word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, ‘Jump,’ and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.  If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere.  So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.  Love cares more for others than for self.  Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.  Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of the truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back but keeps going to the end.

1 Corinthians 13: 1-7 [The Message Bible]

“…doesn’t keep score of the sins of others…”

Do I still love him?  That isn’t the question on the table.  The real question is am I, a child of God, like God?  God is indeed love after all…

| Self-reflection. |

It doesn’t matter if I’m a good person who shares the word of God, sacrifices for others, has amazing faith, and gives to the poor.  I can write blogs until my fingers go numb and give hugs until my arms are tired.  If don’t have love, all of my efforts are worthless.

All of this from a freaking text message

(I wonder if this is how Philemon felt when he received Paul’s letter.)

THE MORAL OF THE STORY

I MUST FORGIVE…completely.  “[Love] doesn’t keep score of the sins of others.”  My whole premise for not being interested in him “presenting himself faultless before His presence with exceeding joy,”  is because seeing him as he may be now means I have to relinquish who he once was and what he once did.  Forgiveness means I can no longer throw the “Victim” card on the table, and I can no longer justify what I am, how I am, and what I do by what he did.  Forgiveness means that he is entitled to a clean slate.  Do I really want to give him that?

I don’t know what Philemon decided to do with relation to Onesimus.  I searched in the Bible and Google (I love Google), and I couldn’t find the conclusion of the matter; maybe I overlooked it…IDK.  Maybe it was God’s will for me not to find his conclusion because I would probably try to mirror my decision off his…I like to be justified in my decisions.  SMH.  I have to make a decision for myself.  And no, the decision isn’t between whether or not I welcome him with open arms, whether or not we reconcile, whether or not we have a future, or whether or not there will be rose bearers dropping pedals at his feet.  Blah!  What it boils down to is if I can extend GRACE enough to allow him to be free from who he was so he can have a simple conversation with me.  …a con-ver-sa-tion.  (I shole can make a mountain out of a molehill.)

“[Love] trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back but keeps going until the end.”

I believe nothing happens by happenstance so I have to trust that God wouldn’t put me in any situations that would ultimately leave me worse off than I was before.  Furthermore, it is my responsibility to go into this and every situation looking for the good in it – the best in it.  Lastly, I can’t look back to the precedent but push forward.

My earnest prayer today…

Dear Lord,

Forgive me.  I’m sorry for carrying your name but not your love.  Please purify my heart and heal the places that are still broken and hurting.  Only you and I know where and why those places exist.  Give me strength to forgive and extend your grace.  Help me to not keep score.  I need you.

Amen

Sorry this was so lengthy.

I hope this helps.

-Chris

 

 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Deborah Thomas says:

    Wheww what a awesome testimony as always so real..

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