Wouldn't you know that the moment I commit to God that I will focus on His definition of kindness, I blow a gasket in dealing with a longtime friend? *sigh* This friend has been a friend for quite awhile and I'm just about done with how she treats me. This has been going on for just about a year. More on that, maybe, another time. Anyway, the straw that broke the camel's back fell the other day and the deep hurt I'm feeling has finally made me realize that I can't continue like this. Our friendship cannot continue like this.
And silly me. I start my Fruits of the Spirit Challenge today. Poo! God surely has a sense of humor, doesn't He? In researching what God means by "kindness," I learned a few things:
In the King James Version, "kindness" is actually "longsuffering." (Look at the different translations of Galations 5:22 http://bible.cc/galatians/5-22.htm.)
"Longsuffering" is fairly self-explanatory, but I learned a lot about Bible history and the translations of "longsuffering" (http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/L/LONGSUFFERING/). Basically it means slow to anger, slow to respond in anger, taking a long, deep breath before succumbing to anger.
So where does this leave me in my predicament? How do I take what I know of the Lord and how He wants me to behave - with kindness and longsuffering - and apply it? This isn't a silly slight from last week. This is accumulated behavior that has escalated in the last year, but in truth, has been ever-present since the beginning. To be fair, I willingly acquiesced. I enjoy the friendship very much. Or I did.
God tells us that when we have a problem with someone, we should first take it to that person. If that person doesn't change their behavior, then we should take it before the leader. If the person still persists, then it should be taken before the church.
So how does this work now? I've talked to this person before. Things haven't changed. They've gotten worse. We don't have a similar pastor or leader, so I don't quite know how to approach it.
I feel the need now to say that by posting in a blog, I've set myself up for judgment and ridicule. I hope those who read my blog don't feel the need to do that, but can see themselves in my fallible humanness. Fallible. Humanness. Maybe if readers could post loving suggestions as opposed to hate-filled missives?
So. I called my friend. She wasn't there. She called me. I wasn't available. It's too late to pick up the phone tonight. There's always tomorrow.
After all, this is a week of kindness. And something tells me God isn't going to like me abandoning the lessons of kindness next Monday.