This is probably one of the hardest posts I've had to write. Normally I write on one topic and save the other for another blog post, but this time I felt that these two can go hand in hand so stay with me as I try and explain.
Sometimes it's hard to own our own mistakes and let me just say that we ALL make mistakes and sin. Yeah, you read that right we all sin, even in the form of mistakes.
You're probably wondering why I'm using the word mistake, so let me narrow it down because what I admit to you next was one giant mistake I never should have made.
Mistake - An act or judgement that is misguided or wrong.
So now I'm going to tell you a story and how God used it for me to in turn offer forgiveness. A few years ago I offered to read a manuscript draft for a friend of mine in my writers group. After I read it, I sent her a message telling her how awesome it was and talked the book up. Well, no more than two minutes later I logged onto messenger and sent another writer friend of mine a message about this book. Well lets say the message was long and went into how I didn't like the characters and some other super critical comments. I hit send and no more than thirty seconds later I was scrambling to try and figure out how to delete my comment. I was too late... I had posted the comment not in a private message but in a group message with the author friend I had just told, her book was awesome. And there was her picture letting me know she had just read my comment.
That would be the moment I wanted to run and hide. I was mortified at my behaviour and so ashamed that I had said what I had said about that person. I honestly didn't know what to do, but I knew I had to own my mistake. All of it.
I rang that person within minutes of that comment going live and I apologised profusely. And I admit there have been times where I've tried to say sorry with an added 'but' in the sentence. I've tried to make excuses for my actions. There have even been times I'm not proud of where I have spun it by saying something along the lines of, "Well, I didn't want to hurt your feelings." Not this time. I owned every single part of my sin against this person. I had hurt her in so many ways. By lying, by talking about her behind her back, betraying our trust for telling the truth to one another.
I'm thankful to say that our friendship is stronger than ever, and God is the reason for that. You see, that morning I had been reading the Psalms 51 and even after reading it, it hadn't quite sunk into my spirit until the dread of what I had done hit me like a freight train.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. - Psalm 51:1-17
After reading that, I realised how important it was to own your confessions and to take it to God also. To cleanse your heart and mind as you acknowledge your sin and hand it to Him.
So... Now that I have written and confessed openly about my misgivings and let me admit that this was only one of many over the years, why am I adding forgiveness to this post? Because sometimes what I did to my friend can also happen to me and remembering my own wrong doing, I had to find it in me to forgive the person who had hurt me.
Yes, you read that right. No sooner had I hurt my friend with my own actions, it was only a few weeks later that similar happened to me. A person in my life had placed her phone on her car seat and had accidentally dialled me as she was driving. She was talking to a friend of hers in the passenger seat and two minutes into the call as she chatted away, while I hollered hello into the phone from my end, she began to talk about me. I gotta say I was shocked and hurt at what I was hearing and I shed many tears after I hung up. When she called me later that week, I told her I had heard what she said and she got very defensive. But a few weeks later she called me back and apologised. Honestly, I didn't want to say that everything was okay, but then I remembered my own transgressions.
And yes, we are still friends. We are human and we make huge mistakes, we learn from them, we grow from them and gain wisdom. And as Paul admits in Romans, I do the things I do not want to do. We aren't always going to get it right, and that's okay. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us, convict us and cleanse us, correct us and help us heal.
I don't know who needed to read this, but I pray you got a seed of hope from this post. Below are some great scriptures to encourage you!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. -Galatians 5:22-23
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfullyto your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.26 “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. - Ephesians 4:25-32
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Love Sarah, xx