About ten years ago, I had someone I considered a friend contact me and ask me to lunch. I was glad to see our friendship rekindled after a long absence. I willingly met her at a local restaurant. After a few minutes of niceties, she became very serious and admitted to me that she had been angry with me for six years. Six years.
My initial reaction was shock. I thought to myself, “You sat on this for six years?” But, I quickly reminded myself that most people stuff their feelings to avoid confrontation. I took the path of humility asking her to explain what I did that offended her so deeply?
The memory she shared was nothing close to what I remembered happening at the time. It didn’t matter. She remembered the experience the way she remembered it and she was hurt. An apology was in order.
Over the past months, people that I held in high esteem disappointed me. I tried reaching out to those people in hopes of not allowing the root of bitterness to take hold. No response. None. Nada. Nothing. These Christian people chose to ignore my attempts to resolve the issues standing between us. Their desire to ignore me forced me to examine why people of faith would choose to ignore another human being? Most especially, a fellow Christian.
Here is what I came up with in the order I came up with it:
I don’t matter to them. When we ignore another person, we are basically saying that we believe our time is more important than their need. Our refusal to acknowledge them minimizes their worth.
They don’t care. As with the friend that finally confided in me, what hit her very hard barely made a dent in me. I am glad the Lord led me to the path of humility and peace. My friend’s delay in voicing her hurt was just as important to me as it would have been six years earlier. I cared. I cared about her and I cared about how I was perceived.
They are too busy to respond. If we are too busy to interact with people, we are too busy.
They are not willing to forgive me. This could actually be a combination of all of the above.
I recently shared my experience with two trusted friends. One friend suggested I confront them about their lack of response. I explained to her that if I responded to their lack of response demanding a response, it would most likely make matters worse.
The second friend had an interesting thought. She said, “Well, of course they ignore you. They are behaving badly, and they aren’t ready to admit it, yet.”
I am going to pray for these folks and for myself. I am going to pray that if I expect too much of people, the Lord will ease my mind and teach me acceptance. But, if my feelings of disappointment are in line with God’s expectations for His children, it becomes even more important that I continue to pray.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18