Here is a note from someone in a pain that I recognize. I could have written this from my own dark corner…my response is below it.
“I just received a message from a girl that I sought forgiveness from… Although she accepted my apology and said she forgave me she said that she cannot forget what I did and cannot have a relationship with me and asked me not to contact her again. I wrote her a reply back and can’t even send it to her. Why is it so hard to let it go? I want restoration and it hurts to know that she, and others that I’ve offended, do not want the same. It eats at me. I start to question my own legitimacy as a Christ follower. I know that my sin does not define me, but I feel that some still can’t move past it. It hurts. But I know that I hurt her and pain cannot be forgotten. Is it possible for those that have felt deeply betrayed to have restoration with their offenders?”
It’s hard to let go because that’s your family. For a lot of people, your church family is closer to you than your blood family. It’s a different Blood that ties you together and you’re taught that you can trust it. You’re taught that there is nothing you can do that can’t be forgiven, nothing you can do that will make you unloveable. You believed them when they said that it’s unconditional love, unending mercy, and immeasurable grace.
People within the church spend all of their time around others who are the voice of God to them. Human beings… gathered together to live out what they believe. It’s easier to speak the truth than it is to actually practice it when the situation gets real. You have to recognize the flawed humanity in those who claim to be Christians. They’re not always right. When people are in pain, they can say and do some things that cancel out everything they claim to believe. Maybe they didn’t believe it, or maybe they’re in too much pain to practice it. It’s a learning experience for them just as much as it is for you. Because you’re the one in need of grace, you’re the one who is being called to give it.
It’s easy to feel worthless when you fail to recognize that Christians can be anything but forgiving toward sinners and accepting of the failures. You’re caught in the dark, nameless space of what is said and what is done. Finding a place to dump the disillusionment and the duality of religion is excruciating. You’re too tied up in what needs to be dumped. The lies are a part of you and you’re reduced to barely a speck if you lose them.
Restoration is possible, but not evidence that you’re okay.
Recognize the difference between their voice and God’s voice. He’s the only one who knows your heart and maybe this isolation you feel has a purpose of calling you aside and letting Him be the only one that can make you feel okay. That’s not a bad thing, but it requires faith that you may not have had to tap into until now. This forces you to dig into the depth of that kind of faith. This isolation and painful rejection is a gift if what you really want is your own unbreakable assurance in God’s love for you. It removes the middle-man and makes it personal. You’re learning that other people cannot affect your ‘legitimacy as a Christ follower.’
It’s time to fight what is trying to kill your faith. There is something that is outside of you and inside of you that will not run from you. It’s the Love of God that flares up in your defense when you hear the accusations against the certainty of your eternal life. Every Christian friend, every opinionated mouth, every demon in hell can tell you that you’re ruined, but they can never drown out the still small voice that responds, “No, she’s not.”
The rejection is from people. All of hell is trying to get you to believe it, but the rejection is not from God.
Resist the temptation to discredit and demonize the people who are not strong enough to be God for you. It’s only a cheaply designed support beam in the house that is crumbling around you. Don’t let people make you feel better at the expense of another human being. The scales have been tossed out, so if you base anything on comparison, then you’re basing it on shifting sand. Another storm will come and your whole world will crash down again when the comparison doesn’t work in your favor. People who try to keep themselves above the line are just living in a tent in the middle of predator filled woods.
Jesus is your stead whether people believe that or not. Trust Him, hide behind Him, and hold on.
You’re in the middle of a process of purification. I know it’s hard to believe. Find His grace in the fact that He cares about you enough to let you go through the pain of growing. You have to feel all of it, but when you’re about to be snuffed out, He’ll find a way to let you know He’s right there. He may be quiet, but He won’t let you go. He wouldn’t let you suffer if He didn’t have a purpose or if He wasn’t certain that you would make it.