I have a very diverse group of friends. We are from all sorts of backgrounds, belief systems, cultures all different levels of social status, education and income levels. My friends aren’t necessarily friends with each other or friends with people like each other, so I like creating opportunities to put all of the people I care about in the same room.
Maybe God is using me as a bridge so we can all see the many things we have in common, and how ultimately we have God in common.)
Because we are different, and because life has handed us different perspectives and pain; There are times we have different opinions on things, sometimes to the point of anger and argument.
Recently I have had some deep conversations with friends and a couple strangers about race relations. I come from an African American perspective that has been tuned in to the Black experience since I was 7 years old. Often I have to explain why my people, myself included, are the way they are and the history and present state of the world/country that nurtures the growth of so many emotional triggers and negative thoughts.
It’s very emotionally draining when I have to give one of my friends a history lesson that spans over 500 years, plus the having to present evidence of inequalities of today. All of that talking and time traveling just so he or she can understand why certain comments, questions, or jokes can hurt some already delicate feelings. And after all of that explaining, there is still the possibility that they don’t understand.
I was recently at odds with a friend over a facebook comment
After being baptized God began transforming my heart. God allowed a love for people and friendships to grow and the desire to share and give, not take, like I did the majority of my life. He’s increased my patience for people and friends in the times where an awkward but very necessary conversation needs to happen. Things can become heated and both sides may become extremely passionate about the points they’re trying to make, but God is increasing my desire to listen.
The battle to truly forgive is at my door, because I don’t want to treat situations and people like I did before Christ. I want to love with words and actions, and in this case forgive with love and actions. I’m having to think about the grace God continues to show me, and all of the things I’ve been forgiven of to help me in forgiving people. There is continuous prayer over the subject also.
Forgiveness is hard!
In order to be more like Jesus, these things absolutely have to happen. God will continue giving me opportunities to forgive. They are also opportunities to be more like Him.
No more fake love
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
Colossians 3:13-16 NIV
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15 NIV