I stand in the pulpit every week and talk about forgiveness and understanding, so it seemed only right, this week to put my words into action when someone I called a friend displayed animosity and betrayal towards me in order to get their own way.
It hurt, of course it did. Perhaps I should have challenged them, or displayed the same negative attitude to them. Perhaps I shouldn’t speak to them again, turn my back and shut them out, but what would I gain?
It’s important to display the behaviour I preach to others and matching their behaviour would make my words in the pulpit meaningless, so I chose another path. I allowed myself to hurt at the same time as asking myself why. What were the circumstances that made them forfeit my friendship? Having spent several days trying to think through the whole scenario my hurt has changed to sympathy, and my friendship remains.
A few years ago, I attended a lecture where it was demonstrated how all negative actions and feelings stem from one thing ... fear. When breaking down each part of my friends behaviour, I realised there was a lot of fear in their actions, making it all the more important for me to show the love, understanding and forgiveness that I talk about so often in worship.
I realise this is a one-off, it may not always be so easy for me to keep my own emotions in check while I fumble through the hows and whys. I only hope that I never forget this experience and at least try to put it into effect every time I feel victimised or used, angry or betrayed, so that I don’t let my own fear inspire an action I will later regret.
Every human being wants and deserves love. Give it! The cost to yourself is short-lived and the rewards can be beautiful for both yourself and others.
May your God be with you.