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Grace Instead of Gruffness

I am a work in progress.

People often think I’m sweet.

My friend, Barb, knows otherwise.  Well, so does my family, truth be told.  But Barb is the one who likes to say, when my horns come out, “That’s just proof that Jesus ain’t done with you yet.”

So true.

Still, though, as Lysa TerKeurst says in her book, Unglued, the goal should be to seek after imperfect progress rather than perfection, which is unattainable.

This summer has been one of rest…one of reflection.  I have wondered over these last couple of months how I will do when tested.

My first real test came a few days ago when someone responded to a message that I’d accidentally “replied to all.”

She wasn’t aware that I was going to see her message, and let me tell you that she had some very, very unkind things to say about me.

She and I have a history that goes back many years.  Things were said back then, and relationships were broken.  We’ve hardly spoken since.

After I read her message, I sat in shock.

I flashed back to the events that had led to our original break.

I remembered the emotions and the anger that had surrounded me during that time.

It had been a very bad time for me, personally.  I’d recently lost my dad and was dealing with the shock that accompanies losing someone unexpectedly.

I read her message on Facebook several more times.

I considered my options…should I respond and if so, what should I say?

I remembered Lysa’s words of wisdom…gifts from the Lord to my thirsty soul.

I sent this woman a response that did not accuse.  It subtly let her know that I had seen the response she’d crafted, but I didn’t jump in to defend myself.

I told her that I wanted to put everything behind us so we could deal with the big issue that we need to deal with.  This is something that is going to take both of us, in cooperation, to complete.

I also told her that during the intervening years, my heart had softened.

I used to be a person who flew off the handle.  My emotions always run just below the surface.

I still erupt sometimes, but I tend to suppress a lot now, although my face still shows how I feel.

These ten-plus years have changed me, though.  My experiences in life as well as my walk with God have matured me.

It has been the lessons I’ve learned in Unglued that have left their mark and have been the catalyst for the most recent changes in my heart attitude.

She responded to my response (are you keeping up) very quickly and told me that while my heart may have softened, her’s has not, and that she will probably always be bitter.

The anger runs strongly through her veins still.  However, as I read those sad words along with the rest of her message, I almost felt her desperation and longing to believe what I was saying.

I responded one more time, trying to be careful not to fan the flames that are obviously still burning.  But, as Lysa suggests in her book, I laid things out in a very honest way that did not excuse her from the role she had played in the division between us.

I ended my note by asking for her forgiveness.

I haven’t heard back from her.

I don’t know if I will, but in the meantime, I will be praying for her.

This, too, is huge for me.

I don’t know about you, but praying for those who hurt me is pretty low on my to-do list…right below having my toe hairs pulled out one-by-one.

I’m not telling you this story to glorify myself, because I know my heart all too well.

All glory goes to God for His hand that stopped me from writing something like, “You are seriously not over this yet?”

It is my prayer that this woman will draw comfort from the grace I extended.  By not being gruff, I did not give her any fuel for her anger.

I hope that one day she will see that God can heal the heart.  In fact, He’s the only person who can…if she allows Him to.

I heard the song on the radio last night while I was cleaning the kitchen, and I thought of how much we need God in our lives…to help us fight temptation…to get through life’s challenges.

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One Response

  1. wow I really needed this today! Glad I stopped by and read this. As you know I have some people in my life right now that uh fan my flames as well. He ain’t done with me yet either!! Love you my friend! 🙂

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