For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience?
But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
1 Peter 2:20
From the time we are born until the time we leave for Heaven, we will ALL have some relationship issues. We aren’t perfect and neither are the people we live with on planet earth. But I do believe closure must be made because when it’s not, there will be this dull nagging from your own mind, or a gentle whisper from the Holy Spirit, to “just do it – try closing the gate that was left open.”
UGH. I don’t want to, you think or plead. I have patiently endured what was done to me, Lord. Isn’t that enough? I could imagine God saying “No, Becky it’s not enough. That gate is growing moss on it and it’s going to be harder to close. It’s a chain around your heart and its getting heavier and heavier. You need to close it. Trust Me. Do what is right.”
Once upon a time (if you could look into the past via a magical mirror) you would have seen me digging my feet into the ground, heels trying to keep myself from being pulled along, hands tightly grasping anything that would keep me from listening and cooperating. I did everything I could to ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Get this: I even (gasp) told myself it was the enemy of God trying to make me feel guilty. Yeah, right. And then I read a teeny tiny few words that convicted me from the top of my stubborn head to the bottom of my firmly planted feet. Simple advice yet so Godly:
“He [God] knows whether our inner, unseen thoughts and motives match our external words and works. He is pleased when our lives honor Him --- inside and out. He is grieved when they do not.”
(Chuck Swindoll, Bedtime Blessings, September 2).
Man o man . . . I hated to think I was grieving God. I wanted to find favor with Him! I love the initials WWJD. It’s a great question: What WOULD Jesus do?
And so I reached out to mend a fence and, while it was not repaired, I did what the Holy Spirit would not let me ignore. The result is the most amazing freedom and light-hearted- no guilt experience . . . a light as a feather feeling. And this is no exaggeration! I am free. At last.
Oh why did I ignore the God of my life who loves me so much and wanted my heart to lose the heavy rock it was dragging around? He wasn’t asking me to be buddies with a person that hurt me deeply. He was asking that I close the door gently and show love while I did it.
You know that feeling you get when you read a verse about forgiveness and you tell yourself you already forgave the person? And maybe you did but there is some sort of lingering unfinished business that sticks to your heart like cactus needles from a prickly pear? That was the way I felt when the person’s name came up. Nails on chalkboard. Sandpaper on metal. You know the feeling. Not a happy sound.
But the prompting didn’t go away so I finally thought I just better get it over with so this will stop. I wrote a short email that took almost an hour. I prayed over what to say and how to write this note. I wanted to get it right and make sure I did not pass the blame. We were both at fault. We are like oil and water. I did not want a relationship any more but the non-closure was bugging me, as though a door was propped open and hot air of the Phoenix summer was inching its way into my cool home. I needed to show my awareness of the situation and acknowledge I did not feel any hatred towards her. That I wished her well, prayed for her and hoped she would have a happy life. And the best part is I meant every single word. I knew then that I had truly forgiven her and what I was dragging around was the unsettled lack of closure.
And so my email was sent and a few days later, a brief reply came and the freedom of closure was heard throughout my soul . . . once and for all.
And I found favor with God.
You might have identified with this time in my life and all I can say is
“just do it – try closing the gate that was left open.” You will be so glad you did. Maybe your relationship is repairable, maybe not, but experiencing closure is so worth it.
Father, I really am sorry it took me a while to listen to your Spirit’s promptings. I’m grateful you used my friend Chuck Swindoll to speak to me loud and clear. Thank you for forgiving me of my sins as I forgive those who sinned against me.
Trusting in the Lord,