Then he said, “I’m too busy right now, we’ll talk after the summer.” What!? I had just poured out my heart into sharing something that was obviously (to me) not working with the way we operated things in church. I was stumped, couldn’t believe it. How could he just brush aside my genuine heartfelt concerns? Surely, I would never do this to him…
Lately I’ve been going through something trying with a team I work and do ministry with. We all have good intentions, but don’t always exactly see eye to eye. I’ve had my share of frustrations, and yes, even hurt. I would be a massive pretender if I said that I didn’t also cause them pain. Now, if that’s what we focus on, not a lot of good can stem from this situation and our work cannot flourish and go forward.
I thought of quitting, more than once, more than a hundred times, actually. What kept me there is a sense of responsibility, and the people that count on me. What made me want to leave were endless frustrations that I so neatly justified at every turn.
That was until one morning, lately. I was reading God’s Word and praying when the Holy Spirit gently nudged me towards uncovering something truly ugly in my heart. Something I was tightly holding on too, something I hid, even from myself: unforgiveness. “What? That can’t be me, Lord, I’m a ‘forgive and forget’ type of person!” Or so I like to believe.
I realized what made my work hard with this group of people is not so much our disagreements, but my unforgiveness towards how some of it is handled. When I feel discarded, or like my ideas are frowned upon, I retract, and I get mad. Unforgiveness builds up and the next time I meet with them, rather than start afresh, I start from where my pain left off. But God, how I desperately need His grace!
Because Of Love
Why am I sharing this very personal fresh ugly wound with you? It’s because I wish someone did share that with me some time ago already. After digging for this unforgiveness, the Lord quickly pointed out to more, and an avalanche of painful memories came back to me. I may have been able to avoid some of it, was I aware earlier of how sneaky it can be.
For instance, I think of a relationship with a relative, that I find particularly hard to navigate. I realize that there too, there is past hurt that keeps me at a distance, standing in the way of love and a loving – not easy, but loving – relationship. I can’t really walk in deep if I come in with arms loaded with pain I’m not willing to let go of.
What It Boils Down To
Could it be that Jesus spent so much time addressing all the little things that grow in our hearts, and stand in the way of love because, at the end of the day, our relationships are all we really have, and all that really matters? After all, the greatest commandments are to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbor, right?
What if all the rest should be a means to accomplish better relationships and love from the deepest purest place in our hearts? I want to love like Christ loves. And since I’ve been forgiven, I must forgive if I want to be more like Him.
Peter puts it this way: “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8, NLT)
I know love surely covers my sins.
I pray this will encourage you to dig into your heart, and to not let unforgiveness keep you from loving relationships (yes, even when they are hurtful at times). The price of love is sometimes pain, but it’s all worth it in the end, for love conquers all.