I previously shared about Handling Confrontation With A Sister In Christ. Now I’d like to share my personal experience.
A few years ago, after a ladies Bible study meeting, I sent out a group text to the older/leader women on my thoughts of how the evening had gone. I urged a couple of them to speak up and share because they have so much knowledge and life experience that we can all learn from. . . but I didn’t include all of that information because it was a text. I shortened it and assumed everyone understood my thoughts.
Another lesson entirely should be on not texting your thoughts and feelings.
Something is always lost in translation when you can’t hear or see the person. A personal phone call would’ve been best and kept me from hurting a friend.
Back to the story, a couple of weeks passed before my friend called me. The tone of her voice was clear. She was not happy. She asked me if I could come over, I said yes, and prayed as I drove to her house in the country. Heavy and awkward, was the feeling in the air as I got out of my car and she greeted me. I had no idea why we were meeting.
Her otherwise, warm and cozy home felt out of place this time. Like I’d been sent to the Principal’s office. Not in present-day, more like when I was a kid, and you knew you would be paddled. She told me right away, that she would no longer be a part of the group. She then sternly told me how I’d hurt her feelings when I texted to our entire group that she wasn’t Bible-smart enough to engage in the discussion.
That’s when my heart broke. My body temperature went through the roof and I started sweating. Then the tears. I believe I caught her by surprise. I’m not sure if she was expecting me to defend my actions or respond in anger. At that moment when she saw me crumbling, her facial tension began to soften a bit. I asked her to forgive me and apologized for hurting her feelings. She got the tissues. Out of mere laziness, I had not communicated my true thoughts.
After she had forgiven me, I asked if I could explain my original ideas that I should have spoken to her, instead of a lousy text. She has experienced hardship and God has brought her through. She’s also a mother and grandmother with oodles of wisdom. That is what I wanted her to share. A vital part of mentoring is simply sharing how you dealt with a strong-willed child, how to love a stubborn husband or prepare family meals.
She decided to finish the Bible study for the year. Most importantly, she forgave me and understood that I would never have said hurtful words intentionally. I covet her hugs and warm smile every week. She is truly a blessing and that very hard experience taught me a priceless lesson. Restoration is worth doing the hard thing. It’s the better way, and God’s way - for us to love.
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you."2 Corinthians 13:11
I could’ve just told her I was too busy that day when I could hear the anger in her voice. Then I could’ve ignored her each week at our large church. But she did the right thing. She reached out and because I prayed for wisdom, God gave me the sense to go to her in fear and humility. I also could’ve skipped the apology and jumped ahead to my excuses. My intention was not to hurt, but my actions needed forgiveness. I have bad days just like everyone else. On another day I might have responded in the flesh.
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”Matthew 18:15
I urge you to speak in person to those you love. And if you need to ask for forgiveness, let your pride fall away and God will bless you with courage and humility for the moment. Oh, how it pleases the Lord when we act in love and obedience. And remember who wants us to mess up, disobey, and cause hurt. Let’s not give Satan a foothold.