Trying to live love well through the power of the Everlasting.

The consequences of sin.

[Update: this post should be read and filtered through the 24 October 2011 post, “Ah, perspective.” Reading only this post is like reading the first half of one of the depressing psalms, and then stopping without reading the part where the good news comes. In writing this orginally, my perspective was off. My bad.]

I live every day with the consequences of the sins I have committed against the Father and his children.

Every day.

I lied, I cheated, I stole, I betrayed, I manipulated. I did a lot of other things that I just can’t remember right now. Because of those things, I hopelessly destroyed relationships with so very many people that I really do genuinely love.

A lot.

Dear friends and loved ones from so many different seasons of my life. Childhood, high school, college, summer jobs, church groups, jobs, organizations, you name it. Anything and everything in life where you make connections, friends, forge relationships. Most people experience this in a culmulative way, adding more to the vast storeroom of relationships. Sure, some get purged, but not as many as are kept.

The consequences of the sins that I committed, repeatedly over many years, take many forms, but one particularly hits my heart hard today.

I don’t have those friendships anymore.

I can think of literally scores and scores of beloved people that I am not in contact with anymore. People I miss dreadfully. People I love. Most of them I’ve hurt unimaginably thoroughly. A few of them I didn’t hurt directly, but by making myself persona non grata and cutting ties with that part of my life, I’m not in their lives anymore.

I miss them.

I wish I had the courage to re-enter those social circles, those worlds. I just don’t. I know that speaks to a lack of trust in the Father’s plans to reconcile and heal. I want to give it to him. But I can’t yet. I can’t face them. I can’t do it yet.

I said that my relationships with these people were “hopelessly” destroyed earlier. That’s not true. Nothing is hopelessly destroyed when Papa’s on the job. But I do know that fixing those relationships will take decades upon decades of intense healing and grace.

I pray for courage. I pray for grace. I pray for a life – mine – made whole again, with friends and loved ones to share it with. You see, if I called a celebration and invited everyone from my life…

I’d get perhaps a half-dozen people that would show up who were not directly related to me through blood. A dozen at the most. Guys from my Wednesday night men’s group, my pastor, and two or three steadfast friends who, if they could make it, would travel absurd miles to show up for me for a few days before they returned to their lives, far away.

I don’t have the vast, vast majority of my friends anymore. And it’s my fault. People have tried the well-if-they’re-not-your-friends-anymore-they-never-were approach, and it just doesn’t hold water here. They were my friends. I loved them. They loved me. I love them still, even though they probably don’t love me anymore. I care about them. I want for their happiness, their success, their benefit, their joy. They’re my friends still, at least on my end, only I don’t have relationship with them anymore. I think about them so often, and always with the same emotions: joy and love for them followed immediately by the chest-crushing sorrow of missing them so, after which overwhelming guilt and shame lower my head until tears slide down my face.

I’m forgiven, but I still live with the consequences of what I’ve done.

There’s a gap there; a vast and ugly gap between the reality I live in and the reality God offers me.

I want to close that gap. Papa, show me how. Or do it yourself, if it’s something that I can’t do. Grant me the grace to trust that you’ve got me, even if it means facing the most ugly, horrific things that I cannot bear to think about: the results of my sins.

Why such melancholy thoughts today?

Well, it’s my birthday today. I’m officially 27 now.

My birthday. A day like few others for the soul-warming joy of hearing from friends from all seasons of life. A day that will, for me, be hauntingly silent.


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