After hanging up the telephone, I felt like I had been punched in the belly. No matter how many times I swallowed, breathed deeply and closed my eyes, I could not make the dreadful sensation go away. As I resumed my activities after that conversation and tried to focus on other things, underneath my calm façade was a raging storm of inexplicably painful emotion. Intermittently, unbidden tears slipped down my cheeks, despite valiant efforts to prevent them.
I had done it again - my thoughtlessness had wounded a dear sister in the faith.
Her quiet phone call was not at all vengeful or retaliatory. Calmly and simply, she stated that I had deeply offended her, but she could not understand why. Caught completely off-guard and floundering for words, I heard myself trying to justify what was obviously an inexcusable amount of insensitivity towards her and her family. My pathetic list of excuses was only making things worse.
“I am so sorry,” I finally offered, “will you forgive me?”
She paused. “Yes. I forgive you, but I want you to know that this is a lot worse coming from someone at church than from someone on the outside. We just didn’t expect it. It hurt so much…I still just don’t understand.”
I marveled as she expressed astounding grace and granted sincere forgiveness in the midst of her heartbreaking confusion. We reconciled as well as we could during a phone conversation; I was sure we would soon renew our friendship in person. Gratefully, I realized that it was her affection for me that had compelled her to give me an opportunity to ask for forgiveness. A less Godly woman would never have called. Although it was difficult for both of us, I was convinced that she loved me.
Then why did I begin weeping as soon as I awoke the next morning?
Calling for prayer backup, I dashed off an email to another Christian friend, and tried to be honest in my assessment of the situation, “I have deeply offended a sister in the faith,” I confessed, “and although she has forgiven me, I’m still hurting way too much over this. What do you think it could it be?” It did not make sense that I should remain so emotional after being forgiven.
Before I received her excellent reply, an answer came from the Lord. Fervently, in the midst of my tears, I pleaded with Him to help me understand the emotion I was experiencing, and as I listened to my own thoughts, God revealed the nasty, firmly rooted sin that was causing my grief. I mused, “I just can’t believe that, of all people, I could make a mistake like that. I don’t do dumb things like that, anymore...I’m better, wiser and smarter than that...”
Bingo! There it was. It was pride.
Insidiously wicked, sinful pride had been lurking in my heart, buried under the more acceptable label of heavy remorse. Suddenly realizing that I thought I was above being insensitive or foolish, the word ‘pride’ crept into my mind. The Holy Spirit began to stir in my soul. I promptly asked to be forgiven of this newly revealed sin. It was time to rejoice! God washed me with powerful waves of compassion and mercy. I felt scrupulously forgiven and cleansed.
The tears stopped. The clouds broke. Once more, the sun shone brightly.
I sighed, smiled and shook my head. Unexpectedly, the sin of pride had woven its way into my recently bruised relationship. Little praises began to flow from my heart to my Father’s heart as I counted the blessings of His love, her forgiveness and the fact that the Lord Jesus is a God of true redemption. Lifting my spirit, the praises increased until I found myself singing as I went about my morning.
One more time, I delighted in how very much I am loved by my Beloved. Ageless, patient and unchanging, the Father again lifted me up in my weakness to glorify Him. One more time, as I fumbled a relationship and struggled with my stubborn flesh, He continued to love me, to forgive me and to change me. He loved me through it.
One more time.
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Praise God, for all the "one more times" He gives us. An inspiring story and testimony, Kay, that hit me deep in my soul. Pride is never far from my problems with life's issues. The worst sin of all for me. Thank you for your honest revealing and reminding me to stop and ask forgiveness for the root of my sin, "pride", one more time. Yours in Christ, ladybug Karen
Thank you, thank you, thank you for walking in humility! It is because people choose to silence the enemy with humility that others can learn from them. I appreciate you so much. Yours is a spirit of true grace... just like our "Beloved's."