Let me tell you a story:
As a pastor kid, sometimes I felt like I didn’t have any friends. I would have friends, but none that were super close that I could share things with. I mainly just had “hang out” friends.
However, there was a man in our church who loved to build birdhouses out of expired license plates. Because I don’t want to use his real name, I will call him Birdhouse Man and his wife Birdhouse Woman.
Now, he and his misses were great people. They would take me and my sister on trips, out to eat, and treated us like we were their grandchildren. When he saw how awful my fishing tackle box was, he even bought me a new for my birthday one year.
For five years, the Birdhouse Man & Woman were amazing friends.
They ended leaving the church over a “disagreement.” However, after he left, I was informed by someone that Birdhouse Man & Woman were not so nice after all.
They had been spreading rumors about me. I wasn’t even a teenager yet, but they were telling people that I had done some very inappropriate things. Nothing I would’ve gone to jail for, but enough for people to wonder about me.
I was already hurt and betrayed by them leaving the church, but this was something on a different playing field. Someone I trusted had been spreading malicious and outright lies about me. I was mortified.
The question is, how do you move on from something like that? How does your reputation recover? Remember, I was a pre-teen, so this effected me emotionally a great deal.
You might think that it’s better not to let someone get to know you or be your friend, but that won’t help. You’ll end just being lonely.
The truth is, you have to forgive. I know that’s the last thing you wanted me to write down, but it is the truth. You don’t forgive for them, you do it to prove they don’t have power over you that you can move on. The people who really know you and are your friends will stand up for you. If not, and they are like Birdhouse Man and Woman, they are not really your friends. Friends support one another, but if they don’t, forgive them and move on. It is better for you, because then they won’t define you with their unkind and nasty words, YOU will define you.
Matthew 18:21 (HCSB) Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”
22 “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.