jon...hey stranger! This is **** ****! Wow! I ran across your sisters name and the memories of you came flooding back. I hope this find you doing well! I married **** ****....I'm sure you remember her/him too. I love your profile pic!!!!!I've written a little big about my early childhood and especially from my interactions with kids in elementary school and junior high. Short story: I was bullied and ostracized by most of the kids in my early childhood and this particular person was one of those kids.
Frankly, I'm stunned at the moment and unsure what memories are flooding into place this weekend. Mark tells me that people often don't remember their hurtful behavior. I can believe this to a point, but I remember things I've said and done to others that bring me shame now. Mark says that it's easier to look back and feel shame when you've been a victim yourself.
I had to lead the children's message at church today. I went with the scripture reading, which was Luke 19:1-10. Jesus came to Jericho. Among the crowd was the chief tax collector named Zacchaeus, who was touched and transformed by Jesus' ministry. Jesus asked to spend the night with Zacchaeus, which brought shouts of anger and disbelief from the crowd. He was known for stealing and mistreating the people of his community. Zacchaeus offered to pay back those he'd stolen from in the past (with interest) and to devote a certain percentage of his wealth to the poor.
My question to the kids was: Do you think Zacchaeus' neighbors liked him after his meeting with Jesus? My answer? Probably not, though God definitely did.
I compared Zacchaeus' earlier behavior to spoiled milk. Sometimes you take a swig of milk and discover, to your horror that the milk's gone bad. You can immediately replace the bad milk with good, but most likely it'll take a while for you to trust the milk again.
Am I suggesting that this person from my childhood is like a glass of spoiled milk? Maybe I am. I'm curious about why s/he would even think about reconnecting with me after all these years or hint that there are presumably pleasant memories to rekindle. I could accept the friendship request and see what happens, but that assumes that the milk's been refreshed and I'm not sure if I want to make that jump.
I prayed with the kids this morning that we give others the time needed to regain trust when we hurt them and that we ourselves offer a bit of grace to others who've done us harm.
That said, what would you do? Accept or decline? Why or why not?