“If I never call you again, it’s because I’m busy.”
These were the words I received from a woman who had been my friend. They followed a difficult conversation where I was honest with her about how hurt I felt at something she did. I guess she couldn’t handle my honesty, although I think I had been rather kind.
After all, she had arranged a series of secret meetings where she and several families discussed my husband’s inadequacies as a pastor. They had planned to take people from our church to start their own ministry. After years of service together, our relationship was over. I felt betrayed, stabbed in the back, devastated.
It seems like, in ministry, relationships are placed in a pressure cooker. Joys are celebrated at the feet of God. Together, we drag our sorrows to the cross. We eat, sing, pray, laugh and cry together.
How should we respond when our relationships are shattered? I have talked to many pastor’s wives who have experienced the same kind of betrayal as I experienced.
I believe there is one simple answer. Forgive.
Here is why…
1. You don’t know all of the circumstances surrounding the situation, but God does.
2. God will use your hurt to help someone else.
3. We have been called to love others.
4. We have been forgiven, too.
5. You will heal.
I find it difficult to say a lot more about this because each situation is different. One thing I can say, however, is if you decide to hold onto anger and bitterness toward someone who sinned against you, you will be the one who suffers as a result. Don’t do it. Cry, pray, lift your enemy up in prayer, but don’t cloak yourself in hatred and gossip.
Here are several scriptures, which remind me of how I have been forgiven. They might be a beginning place for your healing.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1: 13-14 ESV
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8 ESV
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 ESV
Dear Jesus, you see our hurts. You bottle up all of our tears, and promise there will be a time when we won’t cry anymore. We have experienced the pain of broken relationships. Heal us. Help us to claim your forgiveness for our own sin, so we can forgive others. Amen.