Within the time frame of a few weeks, my work friends decided to plan a party. Rather than have the party at the office, I invited everyone to come to my house. The week of the party, a coworker asked if they might also invite Melissa to come. She was not on the workplace email thread for the party. She had not worked in the office in the intervening years. In surprise of course I said yes, but I was even more surprised to hear that she was indeed planning to show up at my house. I began to get a little inkling that something was brewing.
The morning of the party, as I was preparing the house for guests, I took a short break to check my email. I had gotten an email from a work friend. She informed me that the boss had let everyone out early. No one wanted to wait around for the party to start, so they were cancelling the party and going home. At first I was hurt and appalled that they could cancel a party at my house. Then I began to wonder, in awe… Melissa was not on the email thread. Did that mean she would still be coming? A coworker, “Linda” later called and said she was still planning to come. . . with Melissa. My mind began to reel and I prayed; God, is this what I think it is?
My two former coworkers came and we had a casual gathering. By and by Linda said she needed to leave. After we waved goodbye to Linda, I asked Melissa if she had a minute to stay because I had something for her. With a puzzled look, she reclaimed her seat. I retrieved the set of cards, and told her I had purchased them so that I could write an apology to her. I confessed that I had been completely in the wrong. I apologized for the way I had reacted, and for the fact that, though I had tried to make it right at the time, I had still tried to do it on my own terms. I gave her the entire set of cards. With wide, gracious eyes she said “these are beautiful.” I asked her to forgive me.
And she replied, with tears in her eyes “Oh, Andrea. I forgave you a long time ago.”
And I realized that part of the reason for reconciliation was for me.
It was for me, too. I needed forgiveness.
After all this time worrying about how I would apologize to her, I had nearly forgotten how much I needed forgiveness. I received it. The situation was made right. I had peace. The ugly was gone. I heard God answer my prayer. And I felt His love in an overt and profound way. How glorious is He?
I lived so many years believing in prayer, by name. Yet wishing that I could clearly see the answers. So many years accepting God’s love, but not feeling it personally. Finally I had reached a place of honesty where I could simply ask for the answers and ask for the love. And what I learned from all that honesty is this; that I needed to deal with the ugly. God loves me unconditionally and personally. This ugly is not what I was purposed to be. It is not me, or at least it doesn’t have to be. But it does affect my relationships.
In terms of human relationship, picture a spouse saying, “Before I go in for the kiss… can you please take care of that big green booger on your face?” My husband loves me the way I am, he finds me attractive. The booger is not who I am, yet it interferes with the relationship. My ugly affected my relationship with my husband. There were no standing conflicts between him and I, but even in that human relationship, the ugly gets in the way of his delight in me.
How much more then is our ugly in the way of us all hearing from God and receiving His love. Yet with prayer, self honesty, and Jesus covering all, I escaped the ugly. You can reveal who God purposed you to be and you can feel His voice and love in your life.
[Colossians 1:19-23] For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.