Refusal

Dec212011_0049Japanese Garden in Winter at The Birmingham Botanical Gardens

“I’d rather not be your friend.” Words that sting whether voiced, shared through written words or given through body language.

Our spirits crushed we begin to question why. What did we do to the person to make them not like us? What is wrong with us that someone would value us as so unworthy?

At times perhaps it is the people pleasing part of our nature. Wanting everyone to like us. Yet many times it’s not. When someone you’ve tried to befriend refuses you it can cause us to question our worth.

Yes. I’ve heard these words. The pain cuts deep especially so when the words are undeserved, unwarranted. Hurtful words from someone who made faulty assumptions. Never having asked or cared to know anything I was dealing with at the time. Harsh words like swords tearing at spirit making me feel unworthy. I still struggle to forgive this person. Struggle to let go of the angry words I want to unleash. Most days I give it to God and leave it there, but on occasion I take it back. The healing takes time. But the person who hurt me this way? It’s her loss. Because I am a loyal and trustworthy friend to a fault if you allow me to be.

Every person is valuable. Every person has worth. Yet how often we forget this. How often do we judge someone on their worthiness of friendship by whether or not they meet our standards, our expectations.

What if your openness to their friendship, whether in person and perhaps even online, is the only way they hear that they have worth. You never know what they may be facing: depression, sadness, abuse, discouragement, doubt, fear, anxiety.

Yet I can’t plead innocence and say I’ve never pushed someone away either. While not with words I’ve done the same in other ways. Especially so with my body language. Remaining cordial, but not risking anything beneath surface interaction.

God gives us the choice to learn some lessons the hard way.

I met someone new recently. After our first few encounters I began to keep this new acquaintance at arms length. Her story so far from mine I was unsure how to interact with her. My human selfishness taking over thinking I would keep the relationship as just a surface one.

But God had other plans. “Remember how so and so hurt you?”

Then an opportunity came about. An opportunity to write about something of which I had no experience. This new acquaintance however did and was very open to sharing about it with me.

That gentle nudging settled on me. “Be open and ask.” So with hesitancy I asked. I am so thankful I did not ignore the nudging. If I had, I would have missed out on the wonderful blessing of a new friend with so much to teach me.

When you refuse to be someone’s friend you tell them they have no worth, no value. If you refuse to be someone’s friend you’ll never know how God could have used them or you in each others lives.

Life: Unmasked