A while back a childhood friend sent me an e-mail out of the clear and the blue, it was a 3 line e-mail which really packed a punch. It said:
How are you?
Have you talked to Susie Q?
(Obviously I changed the name to protect the innocent.) Short and sweet right? Or is it sweet? Susie Q was a good friend of mine for many years, sadly our friendship ended due to her mental illness and inability to tell the truth. I miss the old Susie Q, but do not trust the one who was around when our friendship ended. That being said, if she called tomorrow and needed help, I would do anything in the world to help her because I love her. The author of the e-mail knew the situation and knew I had not spoken with her in 11 years. I never knew what I did to provoke such an e-mail. My husband declared it was some kind of passive/aggressive woman thing and she was trying to get my goat for some reason.
On the one side I could feel my emotions switching into high gear. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of Susie Q and the great times we had over the years, her dear, sweet husband - my 1st boyfriend who died of cancer in 1999, and then I felt anger trying to build toward the author of the e-mail. I could feel a Mount Vesuvius impression coming on in a big way. Then I thought wait a minute Annette, if you explode and act ungodly in this situation you will have to repent, you will expend energy crying and being angry which you can hardly afford to expend, and you will probably never speak the author again because you will say things which cannot be taken back.
I really had to pray about it. I never spoke to the author about it because we haven't been close friends in years and years. I hug her when I see her and guard my words when I speak with her. I hope my walk with the Lord as well as hers brings us into maturity as Christians and we make a positive impact for Christ wherever we go.
I know I must follow Christ's teaching concerning forgiveness no matter how I feel.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Sometimes it is hard to forgive, but forgiveness brings life and wholeness. If it were not possible Christ would not have told us to forgive.