crashing over

“It is often the disturbing intrusions of others into our lives that enables them to become Gods agents of troubling grace in our pilgrimage.”  R. Mulholland

There’s an old Peanuts comic strip that shows Snoopy sitting atop his doghouse with his pal Woodstock at his side. The caption below that read something like, “The world would be a great place, if it wasn’t for the people.” That’s certainly how many of us feel at one time or another. However, if you are a believer of God, than you know that He has built into us to learn,  understand and to express His love. The world is a hard place. We’re all pretty self-centered. A simple glance in the mirror brings that reality close to home. If you have walked with God for any amount of time, you don’t need any convincing that it’s not an easy thing to love people, that is, the way He loves you; graciously and unconditionally.  It’s often very difficult and sometimes  just downright painful.
Like it or not, we are designed for human interaction. We are built to engage in all types of human relationships. It’s in that interaction that were are shaped, in the crashing together of those relationships,  that we are challenged, brought face to face with perhaps a different point of view other than our own.  And there’s the “rub”; when someone challenges your point of view. The most natural and often instant response is to defend yourself. You can choose to dig your heels in and not budge, and demand that your point be heard. Or, you can give way in the moment, take a step back, reflect and maybe learn something. The other alternative is to choose isolate ourselves, avoiding those relationships altogether, or at least any kind of conflict. The bummer there is that we can miss out on a potentially “God ordained” moment of impact,  a specific purpose which He desires to accomplish within you, which is stirred up during the moment of the “rub”.
God has instilled within us all a deep need to “relate” to people, to engage.  Genesis gives us a first glimpse of this ‘need” within mankind.  Adam was given the purpose of naming the animal kingdom. I’m convinced that it was through process, even while in utter amazement of witnessing the entire  animal kingdom for the first time, Adam realized that He was “lonely.” He senses a disconnect from the animal kingdom, longing for something, someone like himself. It’s not as if God made a mistake in fashioning His most precious creation or was somehow neglecting him. On the contrary. In His perfect timing, and according to His will, Adam was allowed to feel this gap in his heart.  According also to His perfect timing, Adam would experience the amazing joy of God revealing his woman to him. “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:23) You can almost get a sense of Adams excitement as he proclaims in essence, “Now that’s what I’m talking about Abba!”
In John 17, Jesus was preparing His heart to accept the cup of giving Himself up on the cross.  He was praying to His Father saying, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son…I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,  that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in me and I am in you. May they also be in Us.”  Jesus is interceding on behalf of the disciples, asking His Father that they would be so closely connected to each other, just as Jesus is connected to the Father, and that together, His people would be deeply connected to the both the Father and the Son.  This beautiful process manifests as we, His people, learn to abide together, through the difficulties, forgiving one another, encouraging one another, and yes, disagreeing with one another and yet exercising grace to one another, so that God would be glorified.
Yes, there are times when agreeing together just isn’t going to happen. Our struggle with our own weaknesses are still present.  Even Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15 had to separate due to a “sharp contention” that occurred between them. In their case however, the spreading of the gospel was not hindered, but in fact  actually increased due to their splitting up. Fortunately, in 1 Cor. 9:6, Paul mentions later his support and affection for Barnabas and his work for the gospel.Guess they worked out their stuff.
There are other times when you just have to walk away, because there is no agreeing, at least not in the moment. The parties involved in the midst of the “rub” just aren’t seeing eye to eye. In fact it can get ugly. Offenses can be exchanged in the heat of the battle and long-term damage can often result. It takes a wise person to see this building, to see the warfare mounting from the enemy who, by the way, is always seeking to create dissent, and to divide people, households and churches. Sometimes disengaging is the best answer in attempting to salvaging the relationship.
A few weeks back, I was scrolling through a social media page and I dropped a brief, six word, comment on a friends previous post. (I know, I just wrote about social media mishaps a couple of weeks ago!) It was regarding some form of “art” that he had posted. Wow! Did I strike a nerve.  I got blasted…by the whole family.  There was a brief exchange. (My mistake) Then, as I tried to follow-up in my defense or to further explain my comment, I was being interpreted through their grid of my apparent “hate and racism.”  I took the bait, got hooked and yanked into an argument. What a waste.
It took a couple of days to process what had taken place.  I tried a couple of times to reach out, to offer an “open door” to actually talk about what ever offense they had perceived. About the time I was getting over them blocking my every effort, I received a scathing email from the dad. I was accused of being racists, a hypocrite, misrepresenting God, being one of those kind of “Christians” (?) and a host of other “sins”. I was cut off, unfriended,  blocked from e-mails and phone numbers. This wasn’t just one of those random Facebook friends, you know like one of your “500 closest”. I loved this man and his family, and I still do. We had not spoken for a several years due to life just simply taking us different directions. But what he laid on me was so far from who I am, it appears that he really doesn’t know me after all, or that his unjustified anger greatly clouded his perspective. I believe the latter.
I know that I am an imperfect man. I check the mirror daily, so to speak. I’m a broken individual, doing my best to walk in the healing, redeeming grace-laced blood of Jesus on a daily basis. Yet, I also know that I am not what he accused me of being. The whole experience did cause me to pause, to take a step back. I asked God to show me where I went wrong. I asked Him to reveal to me if there was any truth to what was said about my character. I did not want this clashing to be for nothing. I know it was not about loosing a friend. I had to seize the opportunity to ask Him to show me something. I found conviction and peace in my Savior’s arms, and a little heavenly insight into my friend as well. I made every effort possible to reach out and restore what had been broken. I “laid down my offering at the altar and went to my brother to seek restoration”, but to no avail. I also realized that I didn’t have to chase after my friends approval or apology. I did my best to reach out and to restore it, but for now, it’s resting. Although I am sad for the loss, I am hopeful that it is temporary. As long as we have breath, God has opportunity.
Some issues aren’t going to get resolved, at least maybe not right away. That’s ok as long as your heart has been open to God’s directing in “the crashing”. Quite often, time does heal. It enables us to reflect, to grow, to mature and to let go of the hurt and to invite Christ in, to be our healer. Heaven is coming for the those who yield themselves to Christ’s redemptive work. There’s going to be a lot of people there, some you may not have expected. Maybe my presence there will surprise my friend and his family. Hopefully by Gods grace we can find healing before we arrive.
Peace friends.

2 thoughts on “IN THE CRASHING

  1. 🙂

    Doing my best to follow His lead, 🌻Michelle Lomas Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.



  2. This really hits home! Truth & hope are what speak to me about this. Truth about who “I” am and hope in what God does to restore. Love ya!


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