At some point in your life, you are guaranteed to have your Christian walk tested. It’s all a matter of time because no one is exempt from this thing called life. There are going to be people who disappoint, upset, hurt, deceive, lie, and back stab you. Most times we assume it’s going to be an enemy, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
How do you respond when the person who offends you is a close friend? The struggle for me has always been how to forgive while guarding my heart at the same time. The Bible tells us to do both right? How do we really do that though? How do we allow people who have wronged us and really don’t feel they have done anything wrong be close again?
“Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
– Proverbs 4:23 NIV
Recently, I dealt with a hurtful situation when I employed a friend of many years. I ended up feeling used and taken advantage of and when I called the person out they turned it around on me. My integrity was questioned when I wouldn’t give them what they wanted. Needless to say, I ended the working relationship swiftly to prevent things from escalating. Once I ended the working relationship, this friend went out of the way to hurt my business. I had enough because my business is how I provide for my family and so I took it personal and got angry and I wanted to get even.
For days I would just sit in silence contemplating on how I could get back at this person because of the hurt and betrayal I was feeling. I was feeling uncertain about my business and about my reputation because who knows what was being said behind my back. I was all up in my flesh and I knew it. It was bothering me that I had no control of how things would end up. Then I remembered something that Oprah once said that has stuck with me over the years. She said “When you don’t know what to do, do nothing.” So I did nothing. I stopped talking about it to everyone except God. The I began to do a heart check and self-examination. I asked God in prayer to reveal to me what, if anything, I’d done wrong in the situation and to forgive me for my thoughts of revenge, my anger, and my resentment that was steadily building up. I asked God to remove those parts of me that still wanted to get even and allow me to be free from the situation.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you.” -Matthew 6:14 NIV
The next morning, I got a notification from a Christian App I follow that read “People may try but they cannot stop God’s plan for you. Remain focused and diligent. He will take care of the rest”. Proverbs 19:21. If that wasn’t confirmation enough the very next day a notification came up which said “When it’s all said and done, your fate is not in the hands of people. It is in the hands of people it is in the hands of God. Trust him more! “Psalm 31:15
It was right then that I thanked God for being a good of another chance over and over. I even answered my own question on how you forgive and guard your heart in the process. How can I not forgive a person when I do things probably every day that aren’t right and want forgiveness for. As far as letting them back in, forgiveness doesn’t mean that things will always be the same. Sometimes, you have to love folks from a distance and that guarding your heart means just that. Not putting people on a pedestal because people will always disappoint you, but to always walk with the love of GOD in every situation remembering that we all have fallen short and all need grace.