I have decided to give up a deep-seated resentment over friendships and relations that offer so little genuine lasting affection, but rather provide hopeful protestations that easily give way to selfish mercenary tactics when I refuse the demand to sacrifice my own growth towards God for the unreliable posturing of 'fair weather' emotional warmth. My choice to 'say no' has incurred anger. Yet, I ultimately prefer peace at a respectful distance to lethal close-quarters hatred.
I know that if those seduced by their desperate emotional co-dependency hate me for my relative independence, they first hated Christ's own call for them to be independent from worldly greed. It is because of this that I bear the tacit pronouncement of after-life retribution to those I have known, who blatantly or subtly reject God. How can they bear His presence, or His testimony of blame through me against them?
God promises to repay those who have troubled me. In spite of this, as in the vineyard parable, I ask Him to give everyone another year and another season of His exceptional forbearance and providence. A season in which, perhaps, they may recognise the wisdom of sharing a few words of reconciliation before life expires. Where would any of us be without the benefit of that chance to give up hatred before we die?
I can't change my past, I can only commit to now follow an uncompromising line of integrity (that may ultimately expose the deceits of my detractors). Renewed insight and integrity shows up desperate greed, uncovers indifference to the harm of others and condemns continuation in that life of conscienceless double-dealing that I have long since left behind.
Whatever I was before, I am no longer. I will find a way to bury the loss of lip-service alliances by relieving and undoing the pain and the misfortunes of others. The assured alleviation of that suffering will be a balm to my wounded soul.
I pray that one day, God will grant me the respite that He gave Joseph in finding, at least, a distant truce with those at odds with me; those whom I did eventually learn to hold close as family; those whom I must now hold aloof as hostile. One thing I will never learn is to endure their gloating contempt for my year of deep repentance, the hollow ring to their self-congratulation and their resort to emotional double-dealing at my expense.
Nevertheless, may they either finally discover that their self-exonerating scape-goating was a gratuitous lie or know that they will face the relentless sentence of God for never relinquishing their own condemnations. They could have done better than heap ignominy on someone like me who, for all his mistakes and sins, eventually learnt to abandon them.