Monday, November 15, 2010

Incompatibilities.... an apology?

I told the person who asked me that question that I wasn't thrilled with them right them.  Why ask that now?  It has been a big enough step for me to get from anger at how we were wronged to knowing that my attitude in response to the wrong was also wrong.

Why ask me to apologize?

Should he apologize first?  He did the wrong first, not me.

"What is that to you?"  - An interesting question Jesus asks Peter when Peter asks, "What about John?"

It is really none of my business if or when that man deals with his actions in front of God.  If he sees he hurt us or not.  If he apologizes or not.  If he corrects the lies or not.

Not. My. Business.

At least, not an excuse for me not doing what is right.

My business - my walk with God.  My wrongs.  My sins.

Not his.

If that means, to deal with my sins, that I need to apologize, then that is the way it is.  Some people will say that we do not need to apologize, especially if the other person may not have known about our attitude.  I was told that as a child, but now that I am older, I don't think I agree with it as wholeheartedly as I used to.  I think we use that too often as an excuse not to deal with things "because it was a private sin".  There is nothing quite so definite about dealing with a wrong attitude than confessing it and asking for forgiveness and grace.

Besides, very little with me - at least with what I am thinking and feeling, is private since my face reads like an open book!  So there was no doubt that the person knew how I felt.

Sigh.  So there was no excuse, no escape, no blame casting.  I want to follow God, so it was time to get up and obey.

It was hard.  First I had to come to the place that I was willing to forgive him for what he had done.  That is hard when there is no forgiveness asked, when the very wrong that was done is justified.  But forgiveness is for sin.  For sin, not just for mistakes.  Forgiveness can include forgiveness for not being repentant.  It can forgive for the hurt of never acknowledging the hurt and the damage done.  God forgave me before I "felt sorry".  He asks me to forgive - no conditions included.  Now, that forgiveness can be offered freely now, but there may be limits to the enjoyment of the forgiveness.  Or maybe I would say to the restoration of the relationship.  Restoration of the relationship would mean the receiving of the forgiveness.... just as God offers to all the world forgiveness and grace, but if we do not receive it, we do not enjoy it.

His heart is not my responsibility.  Mine is to offer forgiveness, and to deal with my sins.

But how?  This man is hard to catch.  Like a minnow, he darts here and there.  Like a house-fly, his attention flits from subject to subject.  I spent two years telling him that when he comes, while he is here, I want ten minutes to talk to him.... but never got it.  He always forgot.  Got too busy.  Just ran out of time.


You know the delight of a great relationship with my husband now?  I can ask his help.  So I did, and we managed to catch the minnow.

It was awkward, but I simply apologized for  my attitude while he was here last and for confronting him on that issue publicly when I should have done it privately.  I think he was shocked.  I think he was even more shocked that I did not confront him more.  I did state that I have been aware of the things he has said over the years and that has made working with him difficult, but that I was wrong to confront him like I did.

It was over in five minutes.  It was relatively painless.... the pain was in dreading it, not doing it! I think I left disappointed in a small way.  If I was writing a book, it would have ended with him apologizing, too, and saying that he was wrong in the things he did.  In restoring the relationship to something beautiful.

But I am not the author of this book.  And this is real life, not a fantasy.

I walk away clean.  How he goes on from here is really none of my business, but belongs to him and God.  Maybe he has dealt with it.  Maybe he hasn't.  It isn't mine to carry.

So, yes, an apology.  You see, I can continue where I am because I am in God's care, not this man's.  I am safe, loved, and do not need to fight every one of my battles to defend me.  God is capable of defending me.  Why He does not seem to have done so in this case puzzles me, but I chose to trust.  I am safe.

Besides, it is God who speaks my value, not man.  I do not need to live the things that have been said about me, not now, not earlier.

The anger went.  My relationship with my husband deepened through this.  And slowly, since that time, there have been those moments where I have seen that those who were on the receiving end of some of those accusations against me do not believe them.  They have gotten to know me.  I am not so defensive now.  Relaxed.  Happier.

I think I am more free.  What this man thinks does not control my thoughts as much.  If he wants to think that, fine.  It doesn't have to chain me down, fill my thoughts, evoke such a response in me.  I am not judged by his words.

Only by God.  Who has declared me loved, delighted in, whole, and beautiful.


Carrie said...

What a story! I'm so sorry you endured that. I agree with you that many mission groups do not make their actual members a high priority. It's sad, really.

Ellie said...

You know what? No one made me apologize or forced me to. The person who asked me when I was going to was a good friend, someone I am comfortable with them asking me tough questions.

And it was freeing. I can put this stuff all down now because I am free of it.

I can't fix that person, but I don't need to carry stuff that is his problem, not mine.

My heart is clean - even from the holding onto unforgiveness. And that feels GOOD!

The biggest problems in missions is that we are just not close to perfect. That and the fact that people get put into jobs because the job and the person are there, not because they really have the gifting to do the job.