As I was heading home one day I received a lengthy text message from an acquaintance I have known for a few years. She proceeded to “tell me off.” She felt my relationship with God was a crutch and a means to hide behind my flaws. She reminded me that I was not perfect and that she did not appreciate how I had treated her. I was a bit taken aback because I haven’t seen this individual in over a year nor spoken to her in over 4 months. So, I PAUSED before I responded and sought to determine the means of her anger.
Four months prior God impressed upon me the need to apologize to this individual after over a year of no communication. We had a tendency to bump heads and back then my mouth really got away from me. So, God kept telling me to apologize and I finally did. I sent her a card. As I went to sign the card I hesitated before putting my number. I did not really want her to contact me. I had no desire to build a friendship. I just wanted to say sorry. But, I put my number and shortly thereafter she called and expressed her surprise over the card. She mentioned future get-togethers and a desire to catch up. I did a lot of “uh huh, yea, sure” with the knowledge that I probably would never follow through with any future engagement with her. I did not want to be her friend.
I was having a conversation with God the night prior about integrity. I wanted Him to give me an integrity test so I could seek to determine how often I compromised my integrity. This situation helped to highlight how easily I compromised in order to save face, maintain harmony, "appear Godly" and keep the peace. I did not want to create any waves by saying—“I just want to apologize…I don’t want to be friends.” So, she took all my “uh huh, yea, sure” to heart. She took me for my word so when I failed to follow through with any future interaction she was hurt and retaliated. She read my posts on various social networks and felt my words did not align with my actions since I failed to display any act of friendship towards her. She ended her rant by calling me a fake and telling me to practice what I preach.
So, initially I ran across every excuse in my head—“I've been busy. I work. I have two kids. I was in school. I’m tired. I don’t have a lot of down time. I’m a single mom. I don’t like talking on the phone. She should of contacted me. She has not reached out to me either.” But, this was my integrity test. I should have been honest with her regarding my intentions or lack thereof, but I did not see the harm in allowing her to believe that one day we might be the best of buds.
This situation kept bringing to mind Adam and Eve’s attempt to disguise their nakedness with fig leaves. It was a poor attempt to disguise their sin just as my excuses were a poor attempt to diminish my contribution to her anger. I was not honest with her and I did not want to be honest with myself. So, I apologized for misleading her and stated that my intentions with that card were only to express an apology…not build a friendship.
I will acknowledge the role I played in her anger, but I won’t accept her judgment of my character nor subject myself to her antics. I will continue to press forward and walk in the newness of my life with confidence because I know that His Spirit is hard at work within me. I trust that I am NOT who I used to be.
It’s not up to us to convince anyone of our change. God will handle that as long as we keep our hearts in total submission to Him. Everyone is not going to have something nice to say about you. Some people would prefer to view you in a negative light based on their own distorted perception of reality. We can’t control other people’s opinions, but we can ensure we remain authentic by refusing to compromise our integrity on any level. We can strive to ensure our actions align with how we want our life to “speak” to others. We can practice handling people with greater care while ensuring our "yes" really means "yes" and our "no" really means "no."
Today ask God to give you an integrity test. Seek to determine the ways you may compromise your integrity within your to day-to-day interactions. Ask God to reveal what you look like on the inside and how your life speaks to your character. Ask God to reveal your contribution to troublesome relationships and show you ways to exemplify His ways in all of your interactions. Make the conscious choice to live in HIS truth.
Ashley Ivery is a single mother of two brilliant children, Aiden and Devyn, with an overwhelming desire to empower women and help them to realize the importance of a relationship with God. Through her writing she hopes to encourage women to claim their strength and value in Christ. Ashley serves as the Residential Listing Partner for Team Harris Real Estate. She graduated from
2012 with a BS in Psychology. Her motto is: "Be Authentic.
Live Honestly. Dispel Light."+ Fayetteville State University
[Photo: Antara Creative Commons]