The other day I babysat 5 kids ages 5 and under. I know, it’s grounds for sainthood, but that’s not the point of this post. And, technically, I only “babysat” 4 since one of them was my kid. Details. Anyway, one of the sweeties came over to me and said that so and so had told them he didn’t want to be her friend anymore. I stopped tricycle traffic and we had an intervention. I asked him if his feelings were hurt by the little girl. He assured me they were. I said, “When our feelings are hurt, we want to protect our hearts. Unfortunately, the people we love the most, like our friends we love to play with, can be the ones who hurt our hearts. We don’t have the luxury of just saying, ‘You aren’t my friend anymore,’ but rather we need to go to that person, while it is still fresh, and talk to them, let them know they hurt our feelings, that it wasn’t ok, and forgive them. If we cut everyone out of our lives who hurts our feelings, we’ll live all alone.”
Yeah, I know the audience was 5, but you better believe he listened…they exchanged apologies and forgiveness and then went back to playing with dinosaurs and premature carrots from my garden…
One of my dearest friends in the world called me a couple of months ago to tell me her husband confessed to sleeping with someone else currently…how he was leaving her for the “other woman,” and that he wasn’t going to be her husband anymore.
As I listened, my heart sank. Tears welled up and I thought of the brokenness in it all. My heart ached for my friend because their marriage and friendship seemed to run deep, yet here they were, she faced with his waywardness, him, so very lost, not only in his heart and mind, but in the heat of his pants and thrill of it all…and we sobbed, together. Of course my foot had a mind of its own and wanted to kick places on her husband I had never even thought of before…but he is out-of-state, so I guess you could say he is lucky.
And my friend, wise beyond a 5-year-old, forgave him for this mental hemorrhage and let him know he could return to true love and the family they had built.
But we can’t force others not to build up walls and stomp away, saying, “We can’t be friends anymore…” or not.
I first prayed for my friend and talked to God, the One who knew her well, her heartache, disappointment, and every private plea and flowing tear. God saw the big picture and knew the whole situation, so going to Him has helped me not carry too much of a burden or desire to rescue, but to trust Him with how to walk through this alongside her, and to trust Him to do the disciplining and “enlightening” of her husband…as well as the true deep down healing from this train wreck.
Then I told my husband. “Yeah, he is leaving her for that girl…”
Jason said, “No, he isn’t. No one leaves the person they love ‘for another person’, they leave for other reasons.”
Huh. He has a PhD in engineering and speaks no more that 64 words a day, yet I feel he may be onto something when it comes to relationships…as if he knows a thing or two about heart things. He is an observer, that man of mine…
Maybe this is a crummy example, but what my husband said has had a profound effect on my heart. You see, my dear friend who called to tell me her news was not the first dear friend to share such news with me…and though the Devil may try to discourage these incredible friends with lies that they aren’t as “whatever” as “the other person” so their spouse left them, the truth is, their spouses were broken and their choices to leave had nothing to do with my friends but everything to do with their spouses’ series of selfish choices and broken relationship with God.
I’m not pretending to have answers or even know what I’m talking about when it comes to an unfaithful spouse…I’m just profoundly struck by the reality that no one leaves their spouse for another person, as if that other person could actually fill a void or something.
What if, in all of our relationships, we ran toward one another instead of away? What if we functioned more like 5 year olds when it came to quick forgiveness?