As a friend of mine often tells me, yes, “We aren’t babies, we need to be able to talk about it”.
I find it pretty interesting how often friends disappear on FB without rhyme or reason. Yes I do delete friends time to time who don’t interact on my FB and who don’t keep in touch. However, when those who do interact, suddenly unfriend or even worse block you, it certainly does hurt.
Perhaps they were offended by a status or a post I shared or a blog post that I wrote.. I don’t know, I can only guess. These posts are not directed at anyone in particular and if those were ‘applicable’ to my knowledge or discernment to anyone in specific, those people would have heard from me directly and personally. My blog posts are reflections based on what God is teaching me or inspiring me – mostly based on my own life which does touch or encourage others. Yet time to time there are ‘words’ that God burdens me to write.
These situations of the disappearing act are not limited to social media but also to the ‘real’ world too!
Yes, I’m far from perfect and there are times I say things when I’m emotional or when I have my hormonally induced mood swings. I can cringe now looking back at so many unnecessary things I have said in the past… and even things I have spoken behind someone’s back due to venting out my negative emotions as I wasn’t given the chance to talk directly.. Yes things I regret and repent for…
Likewise I’m learning to see others with the same grace and mercy that God has extended to me directly from Him and through those who have chosen to be my friend despite the various ways I have hurt them intentionally or unintentionally… I’m learning to extend His grace to those who have hurt me intentionally or unintentionally but out of a pure heart at a moment of weakness, not to seek revenge or cause negative repercussions.
I’m also being convicted and trying to be careful more and more not to lash back at the other person especially when they mock me, be cruel to me or utter false accusations. Yes hard as it is, I try not to respond to the person the way they are behaving and not to release the come-back thoughts that race through my mind (yes they certainly do race through my mind), things where i can point out their hypocrisy or their shortcomings… which are worse in comparison to the things they are trying to use to pull me down.. But God keeps reminding me our role is to love.. and anything said in that point of time isn’t going to be effective for these narrow minded people who feel the need to ‘bully’ in the first place.
There are times however, that what I have said, the intentions, the purpose, the context is misunderstood and misrepresented. Sometimes the hearer doesn’t realise what is being said is to prevent hurting another person who is listening to the dialogue. Often people hear something being said through the grapevine and believe it.. instead of wondering whether that was actually what was said, was it even said or how was it said and how was it understood or perceived.
I’m learning more and more that just because we intend a statement in one way, doesn’t necessarily mean the other person had the exposure or understanding or intellectual capacity to grasp it the way it was meant. A frog in the well will only perceive things within the scope of their well..
What is seen with our eyes or what is heard with our ears doesn’t make it the truth. Think of Potiphar seeing his wife holding Joseph’s cloak in his hands. Things can be twisted very easily. People do twist things to hide their insecurities, shame, fears and to be able to shift blame to take away the focus on themselves. Such people prefer ‘hiding’ mechanisms leading pretense not real lives.
It is sad though when professing Christians disappear without first talking it out and talking it through. Why do we do that? Seek God to search your heart to reveal any areas that need healing!
Is it then of any wonder that Jesus tells us,
Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. – Matthew 18:15-16
Jesus tells us to not judge based on appearances.
There are so many interpretations to every situation, but what is the TRUTH?
Having this discussion helps us seek clarification of what really happened! It helps the other person realise the error of his ways if it was unintentional… or to set things right if it was intentional which leads to setting things right with God too! It also helps us extend grace to the other person who has wronged us and be a honest person not a flatterer.
Yet how many of us who claim to be Christians and even leaders and pastors, obey what Jesus has told us to do in such situations? How many of us will be willing to go as witnesses? If we truly believed Jesus’ assurance that when two or three are gathered in HIS Name, i.e. to do what He has called us to do, wouldn’t we actually respond in obedience? How often do Christian leaders hear a one sided story and PUNISH or REjECT or THROW OUT the other instead of taking the steps of what Jesus has commanded? Through the sin of neglecting God’s Word, we are preventing someone from healing or feeding into their sin which God wants them delivered from.
Thankfully God doesn’t see the appearances but He sees our hearts in every situation.. what motivates us to say something and whether that was a unwise word but not vindictive or revengeful thoughts. He also sees the sugar coated dripping with honey flattery which conceals opposite harmful intentions.
May we seek God’s wisdom and discernment in every situation of strained friendships and relationships. There will be more to the story..
and for the times we err, thank God His grace encompasses us!