In a Moment of Pure Honesty
By Kris Judd of Kansas City, MO, USA
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:4–7 NRSV
I had a friend with whom I worked on many different projects in the congregation. We talked daily on the phone, supported each other through difficult times, and enjoyed each other’s company. We trusted each other and shared parts of our lives we regretted or for which we felt shame. Others warned me not to share so liberally with her, but I discounted their warnings.
Over time I was the subject of her snide comments, rude actions, and unpredictable responses. Something between us had changed. I felt betrayed and I struggled to understand. I tried to find the source of the change, but was met with ridicule and lies. My friend had become my enemy.
After a frustrating day, I found myself wanting to lash out at her in anger and hurt. The Spirit prompted me to forgive her and pray for her. I was not in a place where I was willing to do that. Perhaps if she apologized or explained I could forgive, but she refused to even admit there was a problem. The Spirit’s promptings persisted.
In a moment of pure honesty I admitted I could not forgive her and asked God to help me—I could not surrender my anger and hurt. Immediately I felt a release of those feelings and compassion for this woman filled me. Prayers offered for her provided healing to me, and finally to our relationship.
Prayer for Peace
Gentle and forgiving God, help us pause to pray when we would lash out. Help us remember Jesus when we don’t feel peaceful.
Spiritual Practice: An Offering of Ashes
God promises healing for our wounds and losses. Hold (or imagine holding) a pinch of ashes in your hands as you become aware of circumstances in your life, family, congregation, and world that are broken, lost, or falling apart. Be honest with God about the fear, sadness, or burden you feel. Offer the ashes to God in prayer. Ask God to create beauty, peace, and healing in the places and people who now experience the ashes of despair and grief.
Today, God, when I feel betrayed, I will remember that peace works better than violence.