Withhold Nothing

A couple of weeks ago I found myself navigating territory that was unexpected and honestly, in my little opinion, unwanted. I was working on a project with a few other folx. One person in was disturbed about a particular direction we were taking and made it vehemently known. The person felt their work wasn’t being honored. After several apologies and the appropriate acknowledgement, the person still did not appear satisfied. For weeks we moved gingerly, trying desperately not to awaken the sleeping giant. I processed incessantly with the other parties about the issue. We seemingly couldn’t understand how things were blown out of proportion. The subsequent interactions were less than comfortable, but we made it through. But then, I found myself in a position of having to interact with the person again, unsure as to which representative I would encounter. During the meeting, the person articulated something both surprising and inappropriate. I was struck silent. The other party was as well. We awkwardly continued the meeting, made agreements and bid farewell. I thought nothing more of the exchange.

Two days later, during the weekend, the person reached out to the meeting attendees to apologize for what was said. I read the email, detailing the peron’s sorrow for what was said and how through reflection it was devastatingly unclear as to how the statement was made. The person spoke of deep, consuming grief over the comment. I didn’t respond. In fact, I’m ashamed to share that I opted to let the person sit in their discomfort. I carried on to log into my Sunday service. I enjoyed it all, until I received conviction near the end of the sermon. Who was I to withhold anything when I hope and pray that God grants me new grace and new mercy with each day? The Holy Spirit reminded me of the need to repent daily and that I continuously fall short. How and why would I jeopardize my standing in God, by standing in the way of someone else?

Needless to say, about 70 minutes after reading the person’s communication, I responded. I accepted their apology, but also affirmed that socialization has played a unique role in each of our lives and we must continually commit to both acknowledging our shortcomings and committing to do better. I am further reminded of Proverbs 3:27, “Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person.” As a famous (or infamous) internet sensation said, “Who are me to judge?” As believers, our witness is our most powerful asset in our arsenal. We cannot afford to sit idly by when we witness suffering – no matter to what extent – as serious as declaring cancer out of someone’s body or declaring assurance in response to a seemingly simple email thread. God expects and has equipped us to be His witness in the earth, even in times of opposition.

I don’t know in what ways someone may have harmed or wronged you, this week, this month or this year. But as we were reminded last week to “leave everything,” we must add to the list to leave the pieces our ourselves that are hurt, and when not regulated can act out, and not in life giving and life affirming or life abundant ways. I shutter to consider if God did not extend to me chance after chance. And while am I in no way suggesting that I am God, He lives in me, and as such, I must govern myself accordingly to create an environment that is conducive for His habitation. May we depart this earth empty from giving, granting, governing everything within our power through the power of the Holy Ghost.