November 23, 2013
Open the Lines of Communication/Excuses
How long have you known your best friend? Are they your childhood best friend? Did you meet in high school? Did you meet in college? Let’s talk about childhood best friends first, someone you have known most (if not all) of your life. They once knew all of your “embarrassing” secrets and you knew theirs and yet you still loved each other as sisters (or brothers or as brother and sister) and spent all your free time together. You two have been through a lot together and survived and grown closer as friends for sharing the bad times as well as the good times. When you went off to college you kept in touch by phone frequently, if of course you didn’t actually go to the same college.
Today, and probably for the past few years, you rarely speak to one another. Your best friend may attempt to contact you but you either ignore their attempt altogether or blow them off saying something about being busy with work and with life. What changed? Did loss of a loved one, which your best friend was there for you when it happened, close off your heart? Did you stop caring about this best friend who has always been there for you no matter what through the years? Did you two have a falling out and you never really forgave them? But then you probably would have told them that you were still mad, or that you no longer cared if it was scenario two or three. Are you hiding from them? If so, then why? Are you feeling guilty, ashamed, or fear to face them because of something you did? If that is the case then why would you suddenly feel that way when lots of things you did in your past they already know about because they were there and still continued to love you, support you, and be there for you?
Now open this up to include other people who love you and care about you like family (whether related to you or spiritual family) or anyone else who loves and cares about you who you once talked to frequently and were close with but now rarely talk to (God can definitely be included in this scenario if you once talked to him daily and were happy to spend time in his presence and worship him and to serve him but now you stay away from him and either never or rarely talk to him or do anything in alignment with His will). What reason is it that you stopped talking to the person or to God almost completely?
Next time you blow your best friend, or anyone else (human) who loves you or cares about you off with the excuse that “I’m busy with work,” or “I’m busy juggling work and a personal life,” or “I’m struggling trying to balance my work life and social life,” or any other similar excuse think about something. Think about this: If Jesus were to come back tomorrow and the Day of Judgment had arrived and you were standing before him and he asked you why you stopped doing his will and stopped communicating with him or why you stopped doing “this” or “that,” would you expect him to accept your answer of “I’m sorry Lord, I got too busy with work,” or “I’m sorry Lord, I got so busy trying to balance work and my life, both personal and social,” or any other excuse that sounds similar that you could come up with? You know He wouldn’t accept any “I got busy” or “I was busy with” answers. And if you do know those answers would not be accepted on the Day of Judgment when you are held accountable for your life and everything you ever did or did not do when it is the Lord asking you, then why would you expect someone you once considered your best friend (and possibly still do) or someone else you love who genuinely loves you and cares about you unconditionally to accept these lame excuses for lack of communication? I am not putting these people on the same level as Jesus, but if you love the Lord, and you also love these friends or other loved ones, then Jesus commands us to show it. And we show it by showing up in the lives of people we have relationships with whether friendship, romantic, family, or work, any kind of relationship; and by being honest in a respectful way with them. It would be the same with your boss, would they accept an “I’ve been busy with…(fill in the blank)” excuse?
Let’s look at it from yet another perspective. When Jesus was here on earth, what do you think would have happened if when people came to him to be healed, He had said “Sorry, I’m too busy. Go find someone else to heal you.”? And what if He had decided he didn’t want to die for us? There would be no hope for anybody (believer or non-believer) if Jesus had not died for us to be an atonement for our sins so we could be saved from God’s wrath and eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire, separated from God and Jesus forever. But thank God, He did heal those who came to him for healing while He was alive, and praise Him for dying for us (Matthew 20:28 says, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Hebrews 2:17 NIV says, “For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people.”). Now anyone who believes and shows their faith with works – beginning with repenting, confessing Jesus and their Lord and Savior, and being baptized – fully submerged under water to spiritually come into contact with the blood of Jesus to cleanse you, then receives the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38 and Romans 10:9-10), has hope of living for the Lord and on God’s path with a new life that will end in their salvation eternally with God and Jesus. But after baptism, one must make a conscious decision daily to follow Jesus and the way He tells us to live, instead of what we want to do, or what someone else tells us to do.
Just as the Lord is fair and will forgive you after you confess your sins (1 John 1:9) and you have no reason to hide from Him because He sees all, knows all, and is loving, merciful, and forgiving, the people in your life who love you unconditionally will also continue to love you and support you no matter what. So knowing this, why would you hide from them, or from God? Why would something you did recently affect your friendship (or relationship – as long as it is not cheating if it’s a romantic relationship, but you shouldn’t cheat on the person you are in a romantic relationship with and this will be addressed more in a moment) with the other person when they know all of your deep, “dark” secrets from the past? As long as you didn’t do something to deliberately hurt your friend or romantic partner, then you shouldn’t expect them to suddenly react any differently to anything you have done that you are not proud of doing. Everyone makes mistakes, we are only human. You should not fear harsh judgment (or any judgment) from the other person who knows all of your secrets from the past, or from God since he is merciful and forgiving and filled with unfailing love.
Taking a moment to go back to the whole cheating thing, cheating is morally wrong and if you commit adultery (Exodus 20:14 says, “You shall not commit adultery.” It is one of the 10 commandments. And under the new covenant with Jesus, if we are to follow the commandment He gave us in John 15:12, “love one another as I have loved you.”), you are sinning against God and it is actually legally wrong too. If you feel something is missing from your current romantic relationship you are in, you need to talk to the person you’re in that romantic relationship with and if they feel the same way then you can either talk about ways to spice up the relationship (in innocent, godly ways) or you can part ways in a mutual break up, especially if you already have someone else in mind you believe would have what is missing from your current relationship. If you have already done the cheating but you feel guilty and realized it was a mistake and truly do love the person you cheated on, then you should still talk to them about it and if it is true love, then it is possible you might be able to work things out. And if you are able to do that, consider yourself truly blessed because cheating is never okay. But then, neither is hiding from people you love who genuinely love you back or care about you in any way (even as a friend, sister, or brother). More than one thing is missing from your life if you feel it is okay to cheat though. Chances are, God is missing from your life. When you are happy and secure and know God loves you, and can feel God’s love for you, then you won’t feel like something is missing from the right relationship. If something is missing from your current romantic relationship and you are a true follower of God, then it could be God telling you he has someone else in mind for you and you should talk to God about it before doing anything you may regret later.
This of course also applies to the best friend or family member (spiritual or physical) that you’ve been ignoring lately. When you are secure in God’s love for you, then you realize that there is no need for human approval and you won’t get all paranoid and think that someone who has given you nothing but unconditional love and support, acceptance, and other qualities of true friendship to you would suddenly judge you for any mistake you make or for getting “caught up in life” for a little bit and temporarily forgetting them. It is when you neglect the friendship for long periods of time that the other person may start wondering what they did wrong and may attempt to talk to you about it, but you ignore all attempts of communication, which doesn’t happen when you are right with God and feel his love in your heart.
Whatever excuse you are using to ignore communicating with your best friend, significant other, family member, or God, the solution is both simple and complicated for some: Get right with God. Confess your sins, repent (as in no longer commit the sins you are asking God to forgive you for), and then open your heart to receive his forgiveness and love. Then open your mind, eyes, and ears (both physically and spiritually) for God’s guidance. God can lead you back to his path when you somehow fall off of it. Use the similar principle with the person you’ve been neglecting communication with: confess (let them know why you’ve really been out of communication with them all this time and be 100% honest with them), feel secure enough to honestly tell them you won’t neglect them anymore and then stay in touch with them, openly accept their love (and forgiveness if it is needed, though it may not always be required).
Keeping the lines of communication open is extremely important for all relationships, including your relationship with God. You could die tomorrow or the other person you’ve been avoiding talking to but whom you still care about could die tomorrow, since tomorrow is never promised (James 4:13), or the world could end and it will be too late to make things right. If you did have a falling out and the other person wronged you, forgive them. God forgives your sins so you should forgive those who sin against you. Life is too short to hold grudges, live guilty, or to live in fear. God does not want you to live that way. God wants you to live long, healthy, peaceful, prosperous lives loving others (as well as loving God and loving yourself). God created us to be social, but not with people who don’t care about it, but with people who genuinely care. The people who will always be in your lives should not be taken for granted, mistreated, or neglected, and neither should God.
Don’t wait until you are dying to get right with God or to make amends with your best friend or other loved one you have been ignoring or avoiding (or both), and don’t wait until the other person is dying or dead either because then it will be too late. Frequent communication with God and with the people you love (who genuinely love you too and have proved it by always being there for you when you let them be in the past) and care about is important. Keep the lines of communication open, honest, respectful, loving, and frequent. Do not waste anymore time living in self-condemnation, guilt, fear, doubt, or frustrated. Talk to God about what to say and what to do to make things right and then go do it. Let the other person know you still love them, that you still care. Chances are you can salvage the friendship (or relationship) with the other person and you always can with God as long as you have not turned so far away from him that you no longer want a relationship with him. As long as you are sincerely repentant and still want a relationship with God and are willing to do the work he tells you to do, then God will forgive you. The friend or loved one will probably feel the same way and will just be happy to know you still care and want to be in their lives.
On the small (very minor) chance that you go to the person and they don’t want you in their lives anymore, then at least you know you did everything you could to mend the relationship (if you actually try) and have peace in that. More often than not, honest and open communication can fix a lot of relationship problems (even in friendships) when both people in the relationship (or friendship) realize the other person still cares and wants to be a part of your life and finds out from you that you still care and still want to be a part of their lives. Keep God the center of your life and don’t stray from his ways, and you will find that all areas of your life: health, relationships, work, finances, and every part of your life will improve and will be healthy and prosperous.
This is for people who have ever neglected someone they should not have been avoiding or ignoring and also for those who have been on the other side, where you are the one who was ignored or avoided by someone you care about. If you are reading this and you never ignore anyone you love or anyone who genuinely cares about you and you are also blessed to not have had it happen to you then take a moment to consider how blessed you are and hopefully you will never neglect, use, ignore, or avoid anyone who cares about you and who you care about.