When Sorrow Returns (Unexpected) Joy

I was honored this week when a friend shared some very intimate details of their life. I wasn’t looking to shame, blame or point fingers and take aim. I also wasn’t looking to pry. I offered an e-mail “ear” should they want to vent a bit.

My friend took me up on the offer, and a message was in my inbox the next day. I was expecting a page full of venom and spite. There was none—not even a hint of it. What I read was someone who really, truly had a desire to confess a wrong and just as fervently, wanted to reconcile with those who were hurt in the aftermath,

My initial reaction was to fire off a reply—any reply—just so they would know I had gotten the message. What does one say after another bares their soul? “Got your message; we’ll talk later” did not match my friend’s sincerity and desire to reconstruct their integrity. By disclosing such intimate details I don’t think they were concerned about “image”. Of course, we only worry about our image when we try to balance on the pedestal others put us on. They didn’t want to be on that pedestal and knocked it out from under themselves before the mortar of my imagination dried. And I’m glad they did.

In the previous post I wrote how one little word can get a big reaction from people. My friend wasn’t trying to react, or get a reaction. They wanted to confess a sin to their fellow-man and their Maker and take steps toward forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. I learned a little something about someone else, and in reflection, learned a lot more about me instead.

I’ve told people not to put me on a pedestal when they think I’ve done something remarkable. I’ve realized they don’t want to keep balance on one either, for when they fall off—and we all will—the builder of said pedestal is more hurt by their fall than the one put there.

The guilt of un-confessed sin is a crushing weight that gets buried in your heart and soul, but then takes root and grows into cynicism and resentment. It’s very subtle. Like a river washes away its bank and reshapes its course, so cynicism and resentment do to our relationships. It is much harder and more labor intensive to repair the damage than it is to do preventative maintenance. I have learned this the hard way.

I’ve also taken away this little gem: bearing one’s own soul through confession is risky indeed, but is likely to be more fruitful than expected. If you are trying to stay balanced on the imaginary pedestal then the only thing harvested feeds your own ego. If you allow yourself to fall off, and after the dust settles, I’m sure you will find you are not alone. Grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing will meet you wherever you are. If the people wounded are still there with you, offering a hand to help you back to your feet, you are truly blessed indeed. It is here that humility feeds the hearts of the weary around you, and inspires them to take courage.

I don’t know that I’m ready yet to sow seeds of confession far and wide, but my weary heart has been fed and the Fruit in it has been watered again.

Thank you, friend, for planting a blessing.


3 thoughts on “When Sorrow Returns (Unexpected) Joy

  1. Wow! It is true then? Truth will set us free! Not only us, I think, but all those to whom that truth is spoken. Especially, when spoken in love. Truth is (often) painful, to hear as well as speak. But it is the pain of the antiseptic, the medicinal, the healing. I myself am learning this lesson from both sides, and I am grateful.




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