His intention was good. His motive only to give. His words were kind. I argued, defended, explained, and, by every word, said I would not listening. The conversation grew more painful with each sentence. Frustration levels grew. Anger showed up. I will reflect on this conversation for years.
I have, in the days that followed, gone back and expressed my sadness at my words and actions. I expressed my appreciation for the gift of his words. I acknowledged the priceless value of friendship and advice. We walk forward knowing a window of opportunity has gone; I wonder if things will ever be the same again between us.
Some conversations end up like that. One person, full of care and concern, tries to share their perspective. They bring no hidden motives. There is nothing to gain from the situation. They have no personal stake in the future. In spite of this, I respond as if I know exactly what they are trying to do, say, and achieve. I “know” their motives and “understand” their intent. In the end, their gift of conversation lies dead on the table because of my ignorance, blindness, and pride.
God comes to you and I offering a unique gift. He knows that we will have a hard time with it, so he offers a perspective.
“Listen, friends, to some fatherly advice; sit up and take notice so you'll know how to live, I'm giving you good counsel; don't let it go in one ear and out the other.” (Proverbs 4.1)
The questions remain. Do we want to have a conversation with God? Are we willing to listen? Can we hear until we understand? Do we need to defend ourselves for the sake of our pride?
God's words always contain an acknowledgement of the inside story of our lives. He knows our failures, yet does not need to dwell on them. God offers each the same – unconditional restoration for his children who want to live in relationship with Him. This is one conversation I want to have again, again, and. . .