Finally, I said, "So, did I say something to offend you? Please, be honest."
Apparently, I had. And it wasn't one thing. It was a few things! How about that! The thing I thought offended her was the first thing. But there was more. She hesitated because she didn't want to hurt my feelings. I told her I needed to know. Mostly, the things I'd said were hurtful because they didn't seem to take her feelings into account. What I thought was the problem was only part of the whole. I walked roughshod over her feelings and didn't even know it.
She had decided to let the relationship lay dormant for awhile because she wasn't sure where I was at and what was going on with me. To not care about how she felt more than once seemed out of character for me. And it was. But I didn't even know I'd been careless with her heart. She had some health issues, and was trying to raise teenagers, and just didn't have the time to figure out our relationship.
She was so glad that I'd called and appreciated that I asked for her honesty. I let her talk and then I apologized for my carelessness and thoughtlessness. She never accused and I never tried to defend myself. We both decided that it was really "stupid stuff." It wasn't, but it was. She accepted my apology and told me that she was going to just forget all about it. We picked up where we left off.
It was a lesson. I didn't have to "humble myself." I only had to open myself up to hear what she had to say. I had to drop my defenses and allow the truth to seep in. It helped that she must have gone through the same forgiveness class I did, learning how to use "I" instead of "you."
Honesty and truth. Even if we don't agree with what the offended tells us "we did", we must still realize that it's truth to them. It's real to them. It's how they perceived it. And we all need to be heard, to be cared about, to be valued. That is the key word. Value. How much we value a person will determine how much value we will assign to that relationship. She was hurt because it seemed like I didn't value her, and that I only cared about me. Ouch! Our relationship was too important for me to toss aside.
I had prayed for God to soften her heart, but had I prayed for God to soften mine? Thankfully, He did, without my actually asking him to. I think that the whole process I went through was a softening. I believe that both hearts must be soft in order for healing and forgiveness to occur. We cannot listen objectively with a hard heart. We will not desire restoration with a hard heart.
How's the condition of your heart today? is there anyone you need to reach out to? Ask God to soften your heart and destroy your defenses.
Blessings Along the Path,
Song/Video of the Day
The Friendship Song (Lucy and Ethel)