With tears streaming down both their cheeks, my husband and his friend embraced! I could hear Don’s muffled voice saying, “I’m sorry I hurt you, will you forgive me?” And with warmth in his voice, his friend responded, “It’s all forgiven and in the past.” Then, I too, was embraced by our friend’s wife, and we both cried as forgiveness flowed among us all. Other men and women came too, with similar statements of forgiveness and many with tears.
This amazing moment took place at the business meeting of a very honorable denomination of which we had once been a part. We had left the denomination some years ago, but we had done it wrong. We had not communicated well with them prior to our departure, and as a result we had hurt our friends. In the wake of our decision we had left our friends with hurt feelings, misunderstandings and confusion – all of which needed to be healed.
While in Europe a few years ago, God allowed us to hear an amazing message on honoring our spiritual heritage. The speaker opened our understanding to the scriptures which state clearly to “give honor to whom honor is due.” He spoke of honoring those he knew, who had walked with God before him. Those who helped him come to the Lord, discipled him, and helped him through difficult times. He challenged us to do the same! To honor those who had helped to spiritually shape our lives.
As the message concluded, my husband leaned over and told me he knew he was to write letters to the officials of the denomination in which he had grown up. He felt he was to give them honor for their influence in his life and to ask their forgiveness for the hurt caused when we left. His heart was tender as he spoke and I too, sensed God directing our hearts in this matter.
True to his word, Don wrote the letters. Our friends responded graciously and wrote or called him to thank him. Recently, some of those men invited us to the denomination’s business meeting to share publicly the letter Don had written earlier and to bring public reconciliation to the situation.
As he addressed the assembly Don said, “It is an undeserved honor to be here today.” Those words were never more true. We did not deserve the door of reconciliation God had so graciously opened! But, it was time! Time to repent to them face-to-face, time to embrace, time to cry and time to say the things we had held in our hearts for all those years. And so…..we did! Last week.
I cried as friends from years-gone-by embraced me and lovingly forgave me. I cried because a deep awareness of restored friendship was settling deeply inside me. It was as if I could literally feel the fragmented pieces of my heart smooth out and nestle back into the places they belonged. My heart felt whole again!
Don and I truly believe relationships matter to God. We teach it, we preach it and we try to live it. But that day……….. amidst the hugs and tears……….as forgiveness flowed………….as relationships were restored…………….
I felt HIS pleasure………
and I was undone!