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I remember the day I received an email from my best friend: “Your attorney contacted me. I will not be able to support you. Don’t contact me again.”
“Whoever Brings Blessing Will be Enriched” Proverbs 11:25
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My heart was bleeding. I felt betrayed.
She was the one who witnessed my life at home. She was the one who was there to pick me up to take me away from abuse. She was the one I stayed with while figuring out how to go about my narcissistic husband and his explosive anger.
She was the one who knew everything and yet refused to speak the truth.
DIVORCE JURY TRIAL
Less than 10 months prior to that, I walked down the aisle and there stood Michel, the man I loved and adored! He had the tears of happiness in his eyes. He declared his genuine love for me to the world that day.
It was May 14th of 2016. Our wedding day. I became “Missis Szabo” and looked forward with a hopeful heart to spending the rest of my life with the man I considered Christ-like.
After the wedding, Michel abandoned our marriage and declared to me: “ My bicycle is my other wife I cheat on you with.” He said that he wasn’t interested in me and that all he wanted was to be an IronMan and complete in Kona.
Michel went back and forth. He filed for a divorce twice in our few months of marriage. I endured narcissistic abuse at home, including explosive anger, consistent threats, and mental cruelty.
I was depressed and severely suicidal.
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Now, Michel and I were in divorce litigation going through a divorce jury trial. And my friend refused to testify.
I didn’t hear from her for months. My 4-day divorce jury trial came and went. And I was focusing on healing and re-establishing my life after the narcissist.
narcissist is a chief deceiver and liar
Romans 12:2 says this:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I was hurt. I was abandoned. I was betrayed. I was suffering from anger. I was dwelling on bitterness. But none of it was God’s will for me.
I needed to renew my mind.
RENEWING THE MIND
I wanted to be forgiving and accepting but instead, I held grudges and withdrew.
What was God’s perfect will for me regarding friendships? I saw clearly that from where I was, it seemed as if my friend was obligated to testify in court because she was a strong witness for me.
If I put myself in her shoes though, testifying in front of 14 jurors, 2 attorneys, and a judge seemed terrifying and very stressful.
I thought of Peter and Jesus.
Luke 22:54-62 says this:“Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.”
Even though I wasn’t Jesus and she wasn’t Peter, she was my friend and I loved and trusted her.
She betrayed me in the situation where I needed her the most. However, in the depths of my heart, I knew she was regretting it, just like Peter. I knew she knew that she betrayed me. And I knew she wasn’t in denial. I knew she did it out of fear.
I knew that in my worldly flesh, I was condemning her for betraying me. I wanted to remember what she did and never forgive her. I wanted to make conclusions about who she was based on what she did.
In my Spirit though, I knew that God called me to forgive and love her. So, I started working on my forgiveness toward her.
Proverbs 16:3 says this:“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
Focusing on the Lord, I was able to liberate my heart from bitterness. I freed my thoughts from condemnation toward her. I let it go.
Jeremiah 29:11 says this:“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I hoped that as a friend she’d want to support me. I hoped that as a friend she’d care about me. But my hope was not IN her.
My hope was in the Lord. She betrayed me but my Lord carried me through. And He also gave His life for my wrong-doings because He wanted me to be free, so how could I condemn her wrong-doings after all?
CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD
I wasn’t talking to anyone about my forgiveness journey at the time. I was processing my pain through my personal conversations with God.
Colossians 3:23 says this:“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
I wanted my God to know that I forgave her. I talked to Him every day. And I declared to Him that she was forgiven.
I also wrote a poem about forgiveness as a result of my conversations with God. It came to me from the Holy Spirit. It’s called “Forgiveness.”
Forgiveness is a lifelong journey.It’s a decision to set people freeFrom the debt of offense they owe you,Issuing them an intentional debt-free decree.
The beneficiary of that decree though is not them -It’s your heart that experiences liberationFrom anger and bitterness as you no longer condemn,So issue people the forgiveness decree with no hesitation.
Forgive people often, or daily or even hourly.Decide to quit taking the resentment poisons.Commit to letting go of grudges sincerelyAnd move light-heartedly toward your new horizons.
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I remember walking my 10000 steps every day declaring to God that I forgive her. I usually kept my phone on silent during my walks and talks with God.
That one particular day was very special. It was a sunny day, not really warm but very pretty. I was walking outside really fast. I was having my regular conversations with God trying to heal after a long season of adversity. And I had my Red-White Cocker Spaniel Bruno doing the 10000 steps with me.
As I reached out for my phone to check on time, I saw a missed call. It was her. She also left me a voicemail.
I listened to it right away.
She was sharing with me on my voicemail how sorry she was, how she realized the way she betrayed me, and how she was calling to ask for my forgiveness but also understood that perhaps I would not even call her back.
Colossians 3:13 says this:“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
I called her back immediately.
She answered the phone by saying how shocked she was that I called and that I called so fast. She went on to tell me how she didn’t expect either my call or forgiveness.
I told her that I spent a long time thinking about everything. And after putting much thought into the situation, I had already forgiven her.
To honor God is the ultimate goal of life. He asks that we love and forgive one another because no one is perfect. Christ died to make all things right.
I forgave her. She was excited and joyful. And so was I!
Being thoughtful is the key to having peace and joy. Submitting to our worldly Flesh, we can become consumed by negativity, unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, and resentment.
None of those lead to a closer relationship with Christ. None of those are God-honoring emotions. None of those lead to a good life, which is what Jesus wanted for us.
Luke 17:3 says this:“So watch yourselves. If your brother or sistersins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.”
I forgave her and set myself free.
Now, it all came down to discerning whether or not I wanted to have her in my life as a friend again.
Sometimes, the people we forgive need to stay out of our lives. And sometimes reconciliation is what God calls us to. Reconciliation is restoration of friendliness.
1 Peter 4:8 says this:“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
See the TCEBO thought-processing model I designed to help discern in situations like this.
The thought you put into the discerning box needs to be about God’s word. God’s voice never will say to you something that’s against God’s word. God’s voice guides us to good discernment.
You only hear from God whatever “is written”. Remember when Jesus was being tempted by Satan, every time Satan attacked Jesus, His response started with “for it is written…”
Making decisions like the one I faced, hearing God’s voice clearly is essential before taking any action. Accepting God’s word as the truth is critical and following God’s will as the direction for your life is essential.
I had to first study God’s word and accept it. Then, once I heard from God, I had to accept His will and follow.
You see, it’s so easy to stay conformed to the worldly way of living and remain in the comfort zone.
She betrayed me. I was angry. She wanted to reconcile. I had the right to withhold my forgiveness and friendship. Right?
Wrong. In the world of the Flesh, yes, that’s the thinking process we use driven by emotions. In the world of the Spirit, forgiveness and loving kindness is what God calls us to offer to people.
Proverbs 13:20 says:“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
I had to choose to either be wise and follow God’s Spirit or follow my Flesh and be foolish. That would cause harm.
You see? Here’s that word! “Harm.” You saw the word harm accompany the word foolish in other verses. It’s because God’s word is consistent.
To summarize my experience with thoughtfulness and discernment, here’s my conclusion.
God’s voice speaks to you God’s word which communicates God’s will that’s consistent with God’s word.
It’s simple but powerful. It’s very helpful when good decisions need to be made. It’s the only way to discern using God’s wisdom.
I reconciled with the friend I loved.
Do you ask for God’s wisdom whenever you need to discern good from bad?
Do you accept God’s word as the truth for yourself?
Do you follow God’s will for your life?
If you do, memorize the Biblical affirmation below to remind yourself to be thoughtful and ask God for discernment every time you face a challengein life.I am thoughtfulI am able to discern what is good and what is not.This ability has come from accepting will of God.To the pattern of this world I refuse to be conformedAnd instead, I daily choose by God’s truth to be transformed.
What are some decisions God helped you make? Let me know in the comments below.
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Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.