This is something that the people who I have hurt will probably never read. Like a man on the run, who has traveled to the other side of the world and is ready to confess so I bring my thoughts here.
I read a lot of fantastic thoughts about forgiving others when they wrong you, about loving others as Jesus did, unconditionally. About grace. About being the martyr. I’ve been there. I’ve been the one wronged. But my story today is not about being the injured party, or about rising above the internal pain and anger, and showing love when relational justice is due for a gavel swing. My story is about how I was the one who caused the relational damage, who hurt other people’s hearts, other people in the Bride, the Church, how it was my fault and how I have repented and been healed, even though I’m sure the collateral damage remains. This is where I want the “love unconditional” memes pointed inward toward me from others, not from myself outward toward another. Where I want forgiveness for myself and humble myself.
No, this is nothing so ardent as romance, nor something as comparatively base as not taking the chance to smile at someone at the coffeehouse last week. It’s something about how I am a selfish human being. How I cultivated and began construction around deep refreshing pools of spiritual intimacy and friendship with several people in the family of God, and then walked right out. It’s about how I listened to my own needs and wants more than the needs and wants of others. It’s about how all of those good things we talk about on here, the loving your neighbor, the sharing, the love, how I took those things in different relationships with different people and flushed them right down the toilet. Because of my selfishness.
It’s about petty arguments that should never be had, words that should have been kept inside, doubts that should never have festered for so long that they became serious issues. It’s about how I refused to talk when I knew my words were required.
We talk and talk about how we love others when they injure us, but why don’t we ever talk about when we injure someone else? Well I’ll be honest and blunt, I’ve hurt other people’s hearts. I’ve hurt people that I considered at one time to be deep, dear friends in the family of God. That said, I want to say this:
You’ll probably never read this, but I’m sorry I hurt you. When you wanted to hear my words, I was silent. When you wanted to talk, I was not there, or I was selfish and argumentative. When you were excited about something, I was indifferent. I treated you no differently than the homeless person on at the highway on-ramp that I avoid eye contact with. I’m ashamed and repent. You’ll never know that I run and stay away because I’m afraid. That it’s not because you were worthless in my eyes, but because I am ashamed of myself and don’t want to hear your words of how I brought pain into your heart. As the hypocrite that I am, I bring the cross of Christ in between myself and all those I have deeply wounded through my words and my silence. I nail all this to the cross and I give what was a blessing in you back to Christ with open hands, because he will care for friendship with you and your heart so much better than I ever could ever hope to do. I look forward to maybe a day, this side of heaven or the other side, when God will restore and renew all things dead between us. Until then, I pray blessings over your life, blessings of the joy of Jesus’ love for you in all things. God bless you, my fellow siblings in this family of God. I love you all.