Thursday, December 08, 2011

I am sorry...

Can you see the Mac in my eyes?
Sometimes in life God gets us alone with Him to really take a hard and hurtful look at ourselves -- the ugly parts, not the pretty stuff we portray to the world at large.

Yeah, I'm there for a little bit.

And one interesting question asked in the book that's helping me and others is something like:

Have you tried to make amends with everyone you've wronged?

Well, no, I had to answer honestly.

First off, trying to find all those people that I've ever hurt in my lifetime would be like that guy who has HIV trying to track down that one girlfriend he can't find yet.

And honestly, I have no desire to look up some of my exes to apologize for any ways I've hurt them.

Getting pride out of the way...

My knee-jerk reaction is to think of the ways that people have hurt me over my lifetime. But that's not the focus here today. I need to take my part in all the ways that I've bulldozed over people's feelings in blind pursuit of whatever I thought I needed or wanted or was missing at the time.

God deals with each of us accordingly, and right now He's showing me the stuff that needs to be changed in me.

I'm recalling some of the ways I have been prideful and haughty and hurtful, and so blinded by my own needs that I didn't stop long enough to consider any feelings I was hurting in the process -- even though I never intended to hurt anyone.

Intention is one thing, impact is another.

Okay, yes, now I know what that statement means "for real though."

The casualties of spiritual warfare...
The upside-down Kingdom
...can sometimes include souls we really loved and never thought we'd hurt in a million years, or just tried to put out of our minds.

And yet -- I can't blame this on God or any other party. I must take responsibility for my own choices.

And for those bad choices, again, I say: I'm sorry.

I really am sorry.

And I hope to Jesus that it's true repentance -- not just pity over being caught and exposed in my own mess that I made, but really it's got to be the type of sorry that makes me really turn from my bad behavior completely. Even when no one is looking, because heaven is always watching us.

That's what true repentance is all about.

What good is it if people are smiling at me on earth and God is frowning at me in heaven? I've got to act in such a way that makes Him smile more than cry.

"You don't have to keep saying you're sorry..." said one woman.

"I know you're sorry," she repeated, when I apologized once again.

Perhaps I was trying to say it for the people I want to say it to once more but can't say it to right now, for whatever reason.

And that's what came to mind when that question was asked of me in that book.

Yes, most people do want to hear us apologize, even if they aren't ready to forgive yet -- until the wound scabs over a little more. One day that fresh, open bleeding cut will transform into smooth, healed skin.

A battle scar that that we can barely see, and doesn't hurt so much.

One that makes us sing, "I'm over it now...I don't know how...but I'm over it now..." and really mean it on that sweet day.

That can take prayer-filled time and space and grace and grief recovery, and that may be the best gift to give the people we've wronged.

I still care...I'm not a cold-hearted snake
Hopefully they won't take it as I don't care when they see me going on with my life, talking and smiling and befriending people and so on. Sometimes these things are just a way to try and move on, to "get from 8:01 to 8:02" as this other woman told me the other night who's going through a rough time.

My sincere prayer is that Christ performs the miracles to bring forgiveness in the hearts of men and women toward me -- because I know He forgave me before I even asked.

The Most High God knew the messes I'd make in my life -- so I've got to forgive myself for being so stupid as to make them again. I knew better. And I must let that go. Use it as a learning lesson and move on.

That's what His blood is for...consoling those contrite hearts and helping us move forward and become better than we were when we hurt those folks.

Don't let the enemy bring too much guilt...

That's what they tell me.

Once you've sincerely apologized and sought forgiveness, I've been told to not let the guilt consume me, because that's another trick of the evil one. To try and keep punishing myself would be like saying Christ died for nothing on that cross. And we know that's not true.

"Did no one condemn you?" Jesus asked that slutty woman, trodden out before the crowd of finger-pointing Pharisees.

She said no, so Jesus told her:

"I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more."

That's what I have to hold onto, and so can we all -- since, as human beings, we are never perfect. We are going to hurt people in life.

The best we can try to do is not hurt them in the first place, but if we do, we can sincerely apologize and beg our Maker for His forgiveness first and foremost, and then theirs -- but not wallow in grief.

We must leave it to God to warm their hearts.

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Paula Neal Mooney