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Opening a Dialogue

It never gets any easier. Well, not so far at least.

People hurt, disappoint, abandon, or betray you. I wish this weren’t the norm, but each of us is intimately acquainted with both sides of the scenario. The easiest thing is to cut your losses and try to move on.

The harder thing is to love like Jesus loves us.

As I said, I’ve been the betrayer and also been betrayed. I’ve experienced forgiveness on both sides, but it’s not an easy process.

I once had a falling out with someone I dearly loved. At that point, we were together every single day and I appreciated the fellowship, wisdom, and encouragement of this brother. With just one conversation and difference of opinion, it seemed as if the entire relationship unraveled.

I was cut off, but also offended and didn’t want to reach out either. We still saw each other, but the closeness and bond we’d shared seemed completely gone. Honestly, I don’t know how long it was before I heard that still, small voice prompting me to reach out.

With many nerves and lots of hesitation, I contacted him and made a plan to get together once a week. Not going to lie, it was incredibly (painfully) awkward at first, but slowly the relationship was restored and it returned to a life-giving, life-affirming encouragement to me for years following.

Margaret Feinberg writes of her struggle with the heart wounds resulting from feeling abandoned after revealing or continuing to walk through the process of her cancer treatment.

Joy expands with every “I forgive,” “I’m sorry,” and “thank you.”

Rather than look to others, we can be the ones who break the silence. The ones who find joy in becoming ambassadors of reconciliation. The ones who offer the gift of our presence no matter how difficult the situation. –Margaret Feinberg, Fight Back with Joy (pg. 170)

Our Father didn’t wait for us to make a move toward Him after we had abandoned him in favor of sin and rebellion. Jesus broke the silence and started a dialogue that He has never closed.

We fall short. We miss the mark. We take Him for granted. We hurt Him and abandon Him.

Still, He love us and reaches out.

When you can forgive the betrayer, say “I’m sorry” to the hurting ones you ignored or abandoned when they needed you, or express gratitude to those who have stuck with you in the hard times–you’re living the love that’s unfailing.

It’s not only what we’re called to, it’s what grace enables us to do. God is definitely bringing some people to my mind and heart that I need to reach out to. It may not be easy, but I want the joy of His full restoration.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever experienced this on either side?

fbwj-buttonWelcome to week 12 of our discussion of Fight Back with Joy (disclosure) by Margaret Feinberg. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. If you have a response on your blog, add the link to the widget below. Either way, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts.

Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!

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  1. I read the book recently Jason. I totally understand what Margaret was getting at. The tragedy is many people just don’t know how to act so they keep quiet or withdraw not knowing that is hurting the person more than the cancer treatment itself. For those who simply don’t care…wow! It is hard sometimes to know what to say or do, but at least showing up or caring says something.
    Bill (cycelguy) recently posted..Either/OrMy Profile

    • Reminds me of a great Heidi Baker quote, “love looks like something.” If it’s nothing, then it can’t be love. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, like you said, but even clumsy words or care can be better than avoidance. Thanks Bill.

  2. This book is on my list as one to give out to people we work with. I actually get sick to my stomach when we meet with someone who will not forgive…what a loss to all who come in contact with them. Bless you Jason for reaching out beyond your comfort zone to your friend. With God all things are possible, even a damaged relationship. But one must be the starter and hold fast to God’s love for the person they are trying to unite with. We tried to connect with a couple,out of the mission now, damaged by someone on the field they served in. They told the person we were going through it was too little too late, broke our heart. I wonder what will it take for them to drop all and let God heal their hearts. Thanks for the review…it’s never a waste when I stop by your site. Appreciate your honesty and wisdom.

    • God bless you for reaching out, Betty. This story came to mind as I read this chapter, but I’m sad to say there have been so many times I’ve done the opposite or the wrong thing. I’m finding it’s never too late to reach out if we’ll respond to Holy Spirit’s call. He gives opportunity after opportunity. Thanks so much for your thoughts and kind words! Blessings to you, Betty.

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