Colossians 3:13 ESV
Being able to love someone enough to do the hard work of forgiving them can be one of the most difficult things we can do.
I know in my life I’ve forgiven people I barely know with a relative amount of ease.
I’ve also been faced with forgiving people I know and love and found it was much more difficult. I believe that’s because I trusted them and to some degree that trust was broken. I had to learn what forgiveness means and how very much God is willing to step in and help.
I once knew a woman who had a son who was the same age as one of my sons. She tried to force me to make my older son be his friend.
I refused. I’m not always one to say so openly…my silence says it for me.
She spread lies about me and my son.
She even confronted me in front of a group of women in our church. She made my son look like a cruel ogre.
I was terribly hurt and I did not want to forgive her, but I knew I had to so I did forgive her. It was very difficult.
Ten years after I knew her I learned from a wise pastor that forgiveness isn’t a feeling…it’s a choice.
Twenty plus years later I believe God does 99% of the work FOR us when we are willing to let God step in.
I can laugh about it now…but not in a mean way. I laugh about how hurt I was then. As I write this I replay it and rethink how I would respond today. I still wouldn’t be outspoken or mean…I would just be more honest. I would speak a few words of truth.
My dear friend who stood beside me that day now sits in the arms of Jesus. She was the one who loved me that day and consoled me after it happened.
Colossians 3:13 tells us, “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
Today I am more aware that we are all broken and we are asked to make allowances for one another. That day the woman was a mother bear trying to get something her cub wanted.
The New Living Translation for Colossians 3:13 says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
She did offend me and in time I forgave her.
I did not make allowances for her faults.
Hopefully, today (25+ years later) I would remember and I would consider her faults. I would see that she wanted something for her son and she was trying to make me give it to her.
I would still not give in to her but I would try to tell her why I won’t make my son befriend her son who was two years younger. At the time I did remind her that I do have a son who is the same age as her son. She wasn’t interested in him. He wasn’t a Varsity Football Player.
I still believe that my son has and had the right to choose his own friends. I would not force him to befriend someone simply because that person wanted to hang out with him.
My son who was a senior in high school at the time was always the kind of person who chooses his friends wisely. He doesn’t choose based on what they do. He’s more inclined to choose friends because they have something in common. He served in the Middle East with a few of his friends. He served 21 years in the military with friends. Today, his friends share a common bond that includes a common history.
No. I wouldn’t even try to change how he chooses his friends.
That’s because when I choose a friend, it’s because I believe God sent them to me. It doesn’t matter to me if they need me or I need them…it just needs to be because God is “in” it.
Love from a friend comes in all shapes and sizes.
Some of my friends have four legs. Two are Labrador Retrievers. I have a new friend who is a Golden, one who was rescued, and one who is a Heeler.
I have a friend who is six years old.
I have four friends who have been with me about forty years.
I love them all and I consider them to be a gift that God sent. I pray and wait for God to open the right doors.
I have a friend who knew me when I was a few hours old. She’s 94 now. She’s a great friend. We laugh together about the silly things. We remember times gone by. We talk about those we love who now sit with Jesus.
More and more she longs to sit in the arms of Jesus.
I will be sad when that day comes, but I will remember all the days we had. I will know she’s with my da.
She’s my oldest friend and I love her.
I’m ever so grateful God gave me all of my friends. I love them and they love me.
That matters in this world. It really matters. Love bears all things.
Spiritual Practice: Name a friend
Speak the name of a friend you love. Thank God for them.
In God, Deborah