Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Communication Breakdown (12/16/10)
TITLE: Apology Accepted
By Esther Phillips
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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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