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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Communication Breakdown (12/16/10)

TITLE: Apology Accepted
By Esther Phillips


My friend, Naomi, bolted from the evening church service. I was concerned for her so I went to look for her. I found her in the ladies room sobbing. I asked, “Is there something I can do to help?” That is when I discovered she had been carrying a burden for several years.

She said “I’m so sorry. Can you ever forgive me?”

“I don’t understand. What do I need to forgive you for?” I asked.

Naomi reminded me of an incident that happened many years before. I was standing in the church hallway visiting with Pam. The Search Committee had just selected the person they were recommending to be our next minister. I had noticed that Pam was not at the congregational meeting the night before. Pam was a long time friend of mine so when I saw her the next morning, I stopped to ask her if she was alright. She said she was. I told her, “I missed you last night at the meeting.” She said, “I wasn’t feeling well then, but I am OK now.” Since she was part of the Search Committee, I asked if she was OK with the selection of the new minister. She said, “Oh, yes. I think he’ll be great.”

A few nights later, we had a Board meeting and I was there since I was on the Board. Naomi was there, although she was not on the Board. She wanted to give a protest to the Board about some people who were grilling some of the Search Committee members. She said, “Those who have served are to be thanked instead of questioned.” She was particularly speaking out to those who were questioning the young people who served.

I called Naomi the next day to talk to her about her comments the night before. She promptly said “I don’t want to talk to you about it.” I said, “But I want to talk to you about it. I don’t want you to be unhappy and I’m wondering if your comments were pointed at me?” She admitted that they were.

I explained that I was not drilling Pam about the Search Committee or the job they had done. Instead, I was inquiring about her health and asked only one question about her thoughts on the prospective minister.

Naomi said, “I understand and I don’t want to talk about it any longer.”

I believed that we had worked out any difficulty that might have occurred. So imagine my surprise when I found Naomi in the ladies room all those many years later, and she was asking if I could ever forgive her.

I am now convinced that we don’t always know what we think we know. This incident, and its long time coming to a real understanding, is somewhat like trying to understand the Bible. We understand what we read, but the next time we pick it up, we see something that we had not seen before.

See what I mean in this quote from the Bible “I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.” John 3:11-14, NIV

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This article has been read 388 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Sullivan 12/23/10
It's never too late to clear up miscommunication. Naomi must have felt very weighed down for far too long.
Fern Brown12/23/10
What a heavy weight to carry for such a long time. God is good through it all. God bless you as you write for His honor and glory. Merry Christmas!
Mildred Sheldon12/24/10
Holding onto any kind of miscommunications for any length of time can be a weight that really is unnecessary. Thank you for a very poignant story.
Brenda Rice 12/25/10
There is a good message in your story and communication is vital to relationships. Thanks for sharing.
diana kay12/27/10
i read this through twice and still did not quite understand what the issue was all about. I think i might have got a little lost in the church structure and the committees because i am a Brit.
having said that i can see that you are describing the common issue of misunderstandings that can arise and grudges that can be held between people sometimes for years, for which christians are not immune and this is certainly a theme that transposes cultures and happens in all places.... including the UK :-)
a good subject for the theme thanks for highlighting it
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/29/10
This is a great devotion. I really like how you started with a personal story that many can relate to. You message was clear and direct without being preachy. The scripture you selected was great as well. You should consider submitting this to a devotional magazine.
Cassandra April01/21/11
This is the epitome of how easily things can be misunderstood when we only get PART of a story. Of course, that's all we ever get. We never have the whole story, only God sees the whole picture. That's why we need to be slow about jumping to conclusions.

This was important to share. Thanks