Giving It Another Try- A chance to repent
Something rather unusual that happened recently has gotten me thinking about the ability that human beings have for forgiveness and how incredible that gift truly is. Back in high school, I had a very close friend named Rachel. She and I were best friends and spent an immense amount of time together. I developed a major crush on her though things never panned out in that regard ( I was just starting another relationship). Five years ago, we stopped talking completely because of a major misunderstanding.
Rachel was a newspaper staffer for my high school newspaper. She was covering a victory that I had at a local debate tournament. In doing so, she had asked me for a quote and we spoke. She later asked me to confirm and quote and I was dissatisfied with it and she agreed to change it. The misunderstanding came from the fact that she thought I gave her license to change the quote as she saw fit, and in retrospect I can totally see where she got the idea from. When the issue came to print the quote that was printed was not something I’d actually said and something I thought made me sound rather silly. I was a bit unhappy about this and mentioned it to my debate coach when we had our next meeting and the article came up. It turned out that my coach had felt that his quote in the article was somewhat innacurate as well. Despite my protestations he decided to tell the newspaper teacher. My friend did not get in trouble but was reprimanded for what happened. She basically refused to talk to me after that point.
I spent months trying to apologize but things only got worse from there. She and my girlfriend were also friends, but they had another misunderstanding between them and also stopped talking. It was a pretty messy split because we had mutual friends. Rachel moved seats and switched classes to get away from me. Her mother was a teacher in the school and got involved making false accusations and creating even more drama. Ultimately she left our high school and did an accelerated college program which has her already in a Masters program out in California. We had not talked since then. Throughout the whole period, I would periodically send her a Happy Holidays or New Years message through our good mutual friend Chana. Last week, she out of the blue added me on Facebook. We’ve been briefly talking again, and she and I and my ex-girlfriend and still good friend Sigourney are going to meet up together at the mall tomorrow.
For me, this will be one of the biggest tests of my ability to truly be Christ like in my actions. I can’t even relate how devastated I was by her unwillingness to talk to me. I thought that our friendship at the time was stronger than that. I was hurt by her inability to forgive and to move on. My anger kept me blind for a long time to the real pain and betrayal she must have also felt.
Though I am still shocked by quite how long it has taken to get to this point, I have to realize that the process of forgiveness and repentance works in different ways for different people. It’s wonderful to know that we have an eternity to fully work out this process, and that we have a redeemer eager to grant us forgiveness as soon as we are willing to grant it to others. I don’t know if she has an ulterior motive or if she has just decide that its time. Either way, I need to be at my strongest in order to forgive her fully.
I never thought I’d have an opportunity to forgive or to be forgiven in this instance. I am inspired by the example of the father of the prodigal son. No matter how much time and sorrow is past, he runs and embraces his long lost son. God grant me the strength to be more like that.
I am worried about this encounter because my friend Sigourney is not exactly the type to forgive easily. Quite the opposite, she is the type to bear deep pain and to remember the most negative experiences. Even two years after we are no longer in a relationship, she continues to bring up things that were done in the start ( Over 6 years ago) that hurt her. She tends to dwell on things that hurt her. Maybe this will be a good experience for her as well. I hope she will be able to feel the incredible healing power of forgiveness. I hope that the pain she still feels will not lead to conflict or pain. Perhaps I can be a good example and help out in the process.