My underlying belief is this:
Most (if not all) in the church and specially those I get to work within the ministry won’t ever hurt me (or at least not intentionally). They can all be trusted. They won’t stab me in the back. They won’t believe what other people say against their fellow believer unless verified.
But as I stay longer in the church, I see how idealistic my beliefs are.
For I see how carelessly we slander others. I see how we easily spread unverified information—passed along as prayer requests. To top it all, we refuse to confront each other and mend the relationship.
I see how we refuse to uphold unity whenever we avoid reconciliation. We refuse to look at the other side of the coin and understand where that person is coming from. We refuse to forgive.
I see how faulty we are. How crooked our beliefs until we allow God to mold us. I see how we are really in need of a Saviour. I see how we are like a sheep–dumb, stupid, no direction–and how a Shepherd would lay down His life just to save us from walking toward a cliff.
I see how important Lordship is. That it is really a matter of the heart. That believing in Him is different from following Him.
Let me share a personal story.
In a trip, I shared a room with a friend. We call ourselves “Buddies.”
One day, I borrowed her laptop to practice a dance in the dining area. After practicing, I went straight to the wash room to fix myself because we have an event in the evening. I completely forgot her laptop lying in the table. I wasn’t able to fix it up. And I wasn’t aware that she was pissed off by it.
The day before that, I borrowed the sharpener of her eyebrow pencil. When it’s her turn to use it, I can’t find it any longer.
Before the event started, I used the toys she donated and played with the youth. I forgot to place the toys back in its box after playing. I almost lost the box.
That’s when she confronted me.
And I didn’t like what I heard. I was really hurt. I am not really a fan of confrontation. Though I appreciate her honesty, I still take it as an offense.
From then on, I see all her actions as an attack. I felt like being stabbed in the back. I don’t appreciate her opinions anymore. For me, it all stinks.
How dare is she? I don’t fuss over her shortcomings and this is what I get? How can she make a big deal out of this? Can’t she just overlook things?
I can’t believe my thoughts.
I was hurt. I get that. But why can’t I just charge everything to experience and appreciate that she has been honest with what she felt?
I felt betrayed? Because she vented out and I didn’t? Isn’t it my choice to understand and overlook her shortcomings? So I expect her to keep everything to herself just because I did? I label my patience “selfless” and her honesty “selfish.”
I know something is wrong with my heart. I don’t want to face her the next morning still clinging to this offense. I don’t want to smile at her with a hurting heart. I don’t want to work with the team with unnecessary emotional baggage. She has been nothing but a trusted friend even before we started this trip. How can I believe that she is intentionally hurting me?
I cried to the Lord to help me. For on my own, I can’t. He showed me that I was nursing my pride and she hit it. My refusal to resolve our conflict means denial of a room for growth in our friendship. He reminded me of all the good things we’ve shared together–late night talk after group meetings and praying for each other before we call it a day. She’s one of the few people that I can really be honest with. He let me appreciate her rebuke because instead of venting out to our team behind my back, she confronted me. He let me see that this is an act of love and not a betrayal.
“Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.”
I never could have forgiven her if I didn’t allow God to process my emotion. I was honest with the Lord with how I feel and He patiently reminded me of how to respond in humility.
Yes, we were hurt. Yes, trust has been broken. Yes, that’s unfair. But it can all be mended and healed–if we allow God to.
I hope we all fix our eyes on Jesus and overlook the offense from others. I hope we won’t cling to our grudge and choose to forgive. I hope we agree to disagree at some differences in preferences. I hope we don’t argue over minor things.
The appeal of Paul to the Church of God in Corinth still stands:
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
1 Corinthians 1:10 NIV
I now understand that the church is not perfect. Because we are human. We err. We make mistakes. We are selfish. We clash. We have various differences. That’s why the Lord commanded us to love one another. It is not a suggestion but a command.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”