You’re invited! Right here on social media – my special pity party. All 637 of you on my friends list get to come!
I promise to be vague, I promise to provide lots of emoticons, and I promise to give you just a few details so that you can guess the individual that’s hurt me but I don’t say her name outright. Sounds like fun? Bring your popcorn and gallons of ice cream because I’ll be crying my eyes out. You’ll know because I’ll make it very obvious. No leaving your office chair, and all sympathy welcome! Warning: This post will have a lot of goofy meme examples. 😀
Ever been to one of these? Ever found yourself forced to attend one of them even though you never RSVPed?
I am very concerned about the amount of memes and passive aggressive pity posts I have seen on Facebook.
Things like this:
I feel like these things make injured people feel like they are “being the bigger person” while not-so-subtly letting all their friends know they’ve been hurt.
But instead of being the bigger person, I feel like we are wounding the cause of Christ. When I see Christians post these things, I cannot help but think of one thing only: this is a person who has not forgiven.
We may say you are working on forgiveness, and it is true that we can be tempted to bring back up old (or recent) scars, fighting the temptation against bitterness, but there is no “working on forgiveness.” There is only “forgiving” and “bitter.” Each and every day that you choose to not get angry about a person’s sin, not dwell on it in your own mind, and not bring it up to others, you have forgiven. Every time you indulge to gossip about that hurt, you choose, in that moment not to forgive. There is no state of “I will be fully un-bitter and fully forgiving in a matter of months. Every day I might be getting better and get angry about it less.” There is only, “Today I chose to forgive. Yesterday I sinned against God and chose to stew about it and talk about it to others.”
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven times…”
“…Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Matthew 18:21-22, 32-35
Every day that you publicly invite questions because of passive aggressive memes and statuses, hinting about how someone has hurt you, is a day you make your Father in heaven angry – the Father that forgave the sins you commit against Him day in and day out.
Another thing to think about when we post our pity party invitations and proclaim our unforgiving hearts online (or even privately to listening ears) is that we have failed others too. We have been that erring friend. We have been that bully. We have been that loud mouth or insensitive jerk. All of us have been there. And God has brought us through a period of cleansing out our messed up hearts. Some of us have had lots of relationships restored.
When we post our hurts on our pages to all our friends, when we mention “that friend” that did such and such, we give God NO room for reconciliation and restoration.
God is the same God over your friends’ lives and hearts as He is over yours. In only thirty short years of living, I have seen SO many relationships restored to me. Relationships where I thought the other party would never forgive me – where I was an immature rebel. And relationships where I thought the other person would never apologize, where they had offended me. And yet, I’d say about 75% of them have ended with restoration and reconciliation – in the way Christians are supposed to behave with each other. As they and I have prayed quietly for each other, seeking counsel only from one or two wise counselors (but keeping the whole situation under wraps) restoration and repentance has happened. Then, when those friends are welcomed back into fellowship with you or you with them – sometimes it’s taken years, but I’ve always been so in awe of the Lord when He makes the impossible happen – you don’t have bitter memes that are clearly about them littering your wall. You don’t have hundreds of people who have become little detectives in the meantime, totally figuring out which friend hurt you so they can take up offenses for you. They – or you – can humbly walk back into friendship and fellowship knowing that your reputations have been preserved safely. That all has been forgiven and ugliness has not been spread.
Meanwhile, the people who choose not to post but to daily forgive and zip their lips from speaking (and their fingers from typing) are known as gracious, kind, trustworthy individuals. People do not fear messing up around you, people do not walk on eggshells around you, and people do not keep secrets from you, knowing you’re not talking in back alleys about them.
Do unto others as you would have them do to you. If you were that friend who sinned and messed up a relationship, would you be thrilled knowing the other party was posting memes about how they were the bigger person and you weren’t worth a second chance? Is this how God treats us? No, like the father of the Prodigal Son, He restores us, choosing to forget all that was behind, and pressing forward in celebration of getting His son back.
Obviously, there are wicked people who shouldn’t be welcomed back into your life and who have done unspeakable things, but that still doesn’t mean you are exempt from forgiving them. As far as the east is from the west, so are our sins removed from God in forgiveness. How can we refuse to stop talking about what others have done when we know they will never sin against us as much as we have sinned against God?
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25
Let’s wait in quiet hope for our offenders to repent, only seeking godly counsel from one or two, telling people to pray instead for US that we would have pure and godly and forgiving hearts, giving 70X7 endless chances, not thinking ourselves “deserving” of anything from anyone, and not filled with pride that we would not fail in the ways we’ve been failed against. There but for the grace of God go I.