“I believe everyone deserves a second chance,” read the text.
“You’re right about that, __________, but the person who wants a second chance must also realize the significance of that blessing. They must also be willing to face the proper consequences of their actions. Without this knowledge, they’ll be more than likely to repeat their mistakes,” I texted back.
As I proceeded to end my friendship/relationship with someone I’d grown close to over the last several years, I couldn’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed with doubt and guilt.
I mean, who was I to tell someone else that they didn’t deserve a second chance to make up for something they’d done wrong, right?
After all, I’d lost count of the many chances- second, third, maybe a million chances- I’d taken for granted but nonetheless was graciously given. How then could I not try giving someone who I’d thought was a trusted friend another chance to redeem themselves?
Fact is I did. They just didn’t take it. They allowed multiple opportunities (before I caught them) to pass them by.
And when they were finally caught in their own fabricated web of lies, they were far more sorry for being caught instead of being sorry for what they’d done.
Truth: They were in utter denial.
As I went through the process of ending this friendship, I took a hard look at myself. I thought about past choices I’d personally made that affected those closest to me- my spouse, my friends, and my closest family members included.
I wondered how in the world could I even be blessed with what could be the millions of opportunities I’ve been given to correct my poor behavior, choices, and attitude against those I love.
I knew and still know I’m no perfect human being.
I’ve made a lot of progress over the years in certain areas of my life, but even with all the improvement, I know I still have many things to learn… as well as unlearn.
Yet as I took all of my character defects and past mistakes into thought, one thing became clear to me- yes, I’m a messy person, but I also desire to change and become a better individual. I desire to GROW, not stay the same.
That is where this person and I differed. And although I knew I couldn’t give them another chance to redeem themselves, I learned valuable lessons that are worth noting from this incident:
Lesson #1: There is a difference between wanting to change what needs to be changed about oneself and wanting to continue doing what one was caught doing.
Lesson #2: There is a difference between being sorry for being caught and sorry for the choices one has made that has hurt or has negatively affected others.
Lesson #3: There is a difference between apologizing a thousand times to compensate for the pain one’s caused vs. Understanding that no amount of eloquent words can relieve someone of heartache sometimes.
Lesson #4: There is a difference between wanting to avoid the natural consequences of ones actions and being willing to face the proper repercussions of ones actions.
Lesson #5: There is a difference between demanding or feeling entitled towards a second chance and understanding that a second chance is not up to one to demand or feel entitled to. (A second chance can be an undeserved gift.)
Lesson #6: There’s a difference between wanting to make up for the wrong one has caused by doing what they see fit or good enough vs. Asking the offended party what they can do to make up for the wrong they’ve caused.
Lesson #7: If someone doesn’t acknowledge specifically what they’ve done wrong and does not properly digest the havoc they’ve caused… RUN.
*Awolnation song commence*
Not going to lie, these lessons put a little fear in me because they teach me that I also need to be aware of how I treat those around me.
“And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
If I could take a moment to be honest with you [the reader] I would just admit that I’ve contemplated exposing the truth of this entire situation many times.
I’ve ached to write about what specifically happened-word for word, event after event about the lies and the betrayal that ultimately made me never want to see nor speak to this person ever again- but I couldn’t deny that doing so would make things worse. Not for myself, but for the other person, my old friend.
Why the heck would I choose to keep the truth about what they did a secret? Don’t they deserve to be exposed? Why would I care about whether or not they’d be affected by my exposing of the truth to who knows how many people? After all, if people knew what this person did… they’d agree with my anger and my decision to expose & break away from them.
Well… Once upon a time, I remember a time when I wasn’t quite a lovely person. I’d lie, deceive, and hurt people without any remorse; I didn’t care how I’d hurt others, so long as I got what I wanted.
Of course, there were some deep rooted issues that I was carrying around that caused me to act unlovely; the saying that ‘Hurt people HURT people’ is absolutely true.
But when God gave me a second chance to make things right in my life, it wasn’t because I deserved that second chance. His compassion and forgiveness towards me was a gift that I could either reject or receive. I definitely couldn’t add nor take away from it.
While I certainly cannot allow this person to be a part of my life anymore and even have to allow them to experience severe consequences, exposing them and their actions for the entire world to see is not in my right to do so.
My hope is that losing a friendship may cause them to rethink their own choices and seek to do better.
In the end it wasn’t that I wasn’t willing to give them a second chance; I simply knew they wouldn’t be able to appreciate the blessing without them suffering a loss.
As for me? I can only take the lessons I’ve learned from our time knowing one another, even the messy parts, and use them to help me make the right choices in my relationship with my husband and remaining friends and family members.
As the saying goes ‘Nothing is Wasted.’
Was there ever a time when you had to put an end to a relationship? What lessons did you learn from the loss of that relationship?