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I read an article by Carolyn Arends titled, “Our Divine Distortion.” Arends’ honest sharing triggered an insight. Let me first have you read a portion of her article. Arends writes,
‘I know,’ I replied impatiently, ‘but the seller has a 100 percent approval rating.’
‘Be careful,’ warned Spencer.
‘Of course,’ I assured him, annoyed. I wasn’t born yesterday.
I sent the seller $1,300 and discovered in very short, sickening order that I had fallen prey to a classic scam. A fraudster had hacked someone’s eBay identity in order to relieve easy marks like me of our money.
I felt an absolute fool – and didn’t want to tell Spencer. The next time I saw his number on my caller ID, I didn’t answer. I could just imagine his ‘I told you so.’ Soon, I was avoiding Spencer completely. And I started to resent him. Why did he have to be so judgmental? Why couldn’t he be on my side? Why was I ever friends with that jerk?
Eventually, we had to fly together to perform at a concert. ‘Whatever happened with that computer thing?’ he asked an hour into the flight. Cornered, I finally confessed my foolishness, dreading the inevitable response. But as soon as I told Spencer about my mistake, a strange thing happened. The enemy I had turned him into evaporated. Spencer turned into Spencer again, my teasing but deeply empathetic buddy.
As embarrassed as I was by my eBay error, I felt even dumber about the way I had allowed my shame to distort my perception of a best friend. If my hand had not been forced, I would have remained estranged from him indefinitely.
I’ve always considered myself perceptive, but the longer I live, the more I discover my susceptibility to misinterpretation. This is true of the way I view my friends, truer of the way I see my enemies, and perhaps truest of the way I perceive God.”
It is interesting how often we find ourselves “avoiding” people due to our insecurities and pride. In Arends’ story the outcome was favorable – not only was she able to confess and receive grace, but through this experience, it helped her to see something deeper in her relationship with God.
But the outcome for many people it is not always favorable.
There have been times when I found myself avoiding certain people due to something that I am ashamed of or something that I do not want people to know about. It is amazing how shame and insecurities make us hide.
On the flip side, I am put in an awkward position. Since I am a pastor, I am usually put in a position where I have to counsel and speak the truth on certain things; and not everyone is open to rebuke or correction. There have been many times when I had to speak the truth on relationships. Sometimes, I had to address certain issues head on regarding the toxic nature of a relationship or the dishonoring nature aspect of the relationship.
Now, you can imagine the response of some of the people – not everyone receives things well, even though I have tried to speak the truth in love. But the worst part of all this is the response I receive when the relationship does not work out at the end.
It just reminds me the fallen nature of the human heart.
But the worst part is the pride that I see in my own heart. Giving grace is not the easiest thing to do because there is always a price involved. If I want to become more like Christ, then I need to give grace.
You can read the full article here.