Almost a year ago, my family went through a very difficult time. We were hurt by someone we trusted and though an apology was quickly delivered, the healing took a little longer to arrive. During that time, I sought counsel from a trusted friend. He knew all parties involved and was able to put things into perspective for me. He knew that we loved the offender and he told us to respond in love to all parties. In all things, respond in love was his teaching. He explained that though we were hurt, we taught the person who hurt us a very valuable lesson and that no one will be hurt by him in the same way again. He shared a story about a time when he unintentionally hurt someone by saying something and that though he wasn’t able to rectify the relationship, he learned to never make the same statement again.
A few weeks ago while driving alone in my car, I thought of my counseling friend. I know he hasn’t been feeling well so I prayed for him. As I was praying for him, I thought of how much he had helped me last year and how I should probably text him and let him know how the afflicted relationship from last year had healed and is better than we could’ve ever imagined. I decided to text him to encourage him and thank him again. I pulled over to the side of the road to text him when I really felt the Lord convict me. All of a sudden, I realized I didn’t need to text him to thank him, I needed to text him to apologize. The last time I saw him, I said the exact hurtful statement that he had said when he was sharing his situation and I said it to him. I said it in jest, but still! What was I thinking? Why would I do that?! Oh, there’s a ton of reasons beginning with SIN, but still! So, I prayerfully wrote out an apology text and then thanked him again for his wise counsel last year.
Driving on, I waited for the “ding” of a return text. Nothing. I arrived at my destination and still nothing. The evening passed. Nothing. No response. Not even a “k.” Strange. But then, I decided that in addition to the Lord humbling me and asking me to apologize, maybe He was humbling me again and not giving me the response. Did I apologize to make myself feel better or to make my friend feel better? Does he really need to reply? No, probably not. I struggled with myself and my pride issues, I rethought every word in the text. I placed myself in his shoes. I thought, thought and OVER thought. Enough. I was prayerful before I texted, my intent was pure, I moved on.
It did give me pause though as I continued to wonder if we often apologize to make ourselves feel better. Lots of soul searching involved in that area. One evening as I was having dinner with another friend, I shared with her the story since she is also a mutual friend of all involved. I told her about my new awareness of why we apologize, etc. and how I was still learning from my friend’s response or lack thereof. With a big smile on her face she said, “Oh, I bet you don’t have his new cell phone number!”
Sure enough, I had the wrong number. So my wise friend continued to teach me lessons even without realizing it. He never got the apology. I hope he will read this blog so I can finally end this ongoing lesson. I’m sure there is another matter I can give this much time and thought to!
Oh, and Friend, this is for you:
Hey brother. God has had you heavy on my heart and I’ve been praying for your health and strength. However, He also brought it to my attention that I should apologize to you for the comment I made at the meeting. You told me the story of how you had offended someone. I remembered the lesson and would not do it to someone else, but for some reason, I did it to you and I am sorry. You probably had to talk yourself into attending the meeting that evening and then you were greeted by my comments. Again, my apologies. I value our friendship and think so highly of you. You’ve helped me more times than you know! God bless you and I hope you are feeling better and getting ready for Holy Week.
Let’s hope that “better late than never” works in this case. Also, funny how originally I said he had helped me more than he knows…..isn’t that still the truth? Thanks again and I’m sorry Friend.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. — Proverbs 17:17