Withholding

Have you ever had a falling out with someone in your life?  Have you parted ways with the possibility of never speaking to them or seeing them again?  The fault may be yours, it may be theirs, or (most likely) the blame could be shared.

I have.

And then, later on, I decided I was wrong in so many ways and it was ridiculous that we weren’t friends anymore.  I called to apologize and say what an idiot I had been and could they please forgive me.  But, that wasn’t enough.  They couldn’t forgive.  They weren’t even interested in talking about the situation or the relationship.

This was painful.

Now it has been seven years.  This seems crazy.  We were like best friends!  I sent a little note the other day and got no response.  It’s possible they didn’t get it, but more likely they feel the same way they did years ago.

At what point is it too late?  What constitutes the line that, after you cross, you can never go back?  You see it all the time: husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, mothers and daughters, friends.  Why can’t the offenses be overcome?

Jesus said it’s in my best interest to forgive:

Matthew 6:14-16
14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 18:20-22
21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Why is it so hard?  What’s going through people’s hearts and heads when they withhold forgiveness?  Especially when someone asks for it.

The hardest part of my situation is that I miss the friendship.  I miss the laughter, the crying, the boring, the crazy times.  Maybe they feel this is the price I must pay for my offenses.  But I still hold out hope that the forgiveness I long for won’t be withheld forever.

And, even more urgent: Can I somehow give forgiveness when it’s deserved and even when it’s undeserved?

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