Seeing People Again…
When we see each other again face-to-face, how will it be? I think many of us dream of the time when we will run into each other’s arms and embrace for many minutes as we just linger and make up for lost face-to-face time. And others of us are excited to be in a group where we can feel the energy of people meeting openly together again. We anticipate the positive buzz of the crowd that will energize and re-engage so many of us. Ah, it will be good to see you again!
As I think about what it will be like to come back together in my different social circles, I usually feel a pretty warm and happy feeling, but just recently God ‘tapped me on the shoulder’ and gave me another perspective. I should take a moment to note that if you aren’t one to struggle with judging people or being offended then this different perspective might not be as poignant for you, but if you’re like me, I think this will be really helpful. Regardless of how it hits you personally, I’m pretty sure there will be some people in your life who might be struggling in this way and I hope this post will help you understand them better too.
So, I had this realization that with all the comments and posts flying around social media lately, our reunion might not be as joyous as we anticipate. There have been a lot of strong statements, emotional statements, pointed statements, well-meaning statements, and ‘advice-giving’ statements. I’d be willing to bet that none of us have felt like we agree 100% with everything we’ve read in the last 3 months. But that’s not abnormal. We often read things that we might not agree with and can easily brush it off. Or, we might question what was really going on beneath the surface of a friend’s comment, but when we see that person again, we talk it out or even just remember how much we love these people and the tension levels off.
But what about now? We’ve had months of reading things without having the ability to ‘bump into each other’ in public. So, many comments that might have been brushed off are actually getting pushed to the bottom of a pile of many comments that are building up higher and higher. Oh man, stop me if I’m wrong, but is someone (or multiple people) coming to your mind who has ruffled your feathers a bit lately? Do you feel a bit of stony-heartedness towards them? Have you thought about what it will be like when you see them again? Perhaps they won’t even know that you feel at odds with them – perhaps they will. What will we do when we see these people again? Will we ignore them and hope no one notices? Will we pretend like nothing’s happened and sweep our feelings under the rug? Will we stone-wall a person and expect them to just ‘know what we’re thinking and feeling’?
Guys! The thought of all this is a bit scary to me. I mean, we left our normal societal lives to isolate and as the months have gone by so many things have happened and so many words have been spoken that I’m a little anxious about how we’ll re-acclimate to each other! Have you thought about this? I feel like it’s blowing my mind a bit. It feels heavy with the weight of God’s conviction for me. Yup, I said it. I’m guilty. I have judged, been offended, been hurt, been confused, been angry, been sad, been vindicated, and the list goes on. But you know what? I don’t want to live like this. I don’t want to stay like this. What’s the next step?
Search Me O God…
God search my heart and share with me the areas I need to purify. You know my thoughts. Please, lead me in Your ways. Amen
I want God to tell me where I’ve gone off the path of love, righteousness, mercy, and grace. I want God to guide me back to His thoughts, His ways, and to His heart. As I’ve pondered this, the word that keeps coming back to me over and over again is forgiveness. Will I forgive those who have offended me, hurt me, confused me, and even scared me through their posts on social media. Am I willing to do the hard work of forgiveness when no one will see it and might never know about it? Will I extend mercy and love before I head back into face-to-face relationship with people who I feel less than positive towards?
Ugh… that feels hard. It seems like it’ll be a lot of introspection, prayer and work with myself and with God. My heart is already weary and this just seems like it’ll add to that weight. It might. It might make things worse. I might feel even more tension for a while. I might even want to hide all the feelings in a closet and pretend they’re not there after all.
But maybe, all those tough feelings will be momentary. Maybe it won’t be as hard and grueling as I imagine. Actually, I truly believe that putting in this type of hard work will free me and lighten my load. My husband, who’s a pastor, says that often times the feeling of lightening only comes AFTER forgiveness has been extended. So, I expect to find a quickening in my heart and mind to forgive and keep forgiving and even let it spread to other parts of my life. I hope this will be the start of a radical change in me that I can grow in and build on! I know that I will experience JOY and FULLNESS as I partner with God to soften my heart once again. He will come alongside me to help me be free of the shackles of unforgiveness, judgement, and even condemnation. He hasn’t made me for these things. He’s made me to rejoice, love, and give to those around me.
So, yes. I will put in the hard work. When I feel offended, confused, or any other tense feeling, I’ll put it before God. I’ll ask Him what to do with it. I’ll confess any sin or wrongdoing on my own part and ask for forgiveness. And most of all, I’ll choose to forgive others with my own initiative. I expect it’ll be hard and I’ll want to reject it at times. But in the end, it’ll be so good; so much better than I can even imagine because God’s way is best. Yes, people are worth it. God is worth it. My face-to-face relationships are worth it. I’m a people person and I want to stay that way. So, God, search me and know my thoughts…and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.
God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways.Psalm 139: 23-24 (TPT)