Still to this day, there are people and certain types of people that I am not very comfortable around - whether due to personality conflicts, past difficulties, temptation, misunderstanding, etc. I don't want to be judgmental or unkind, but at the same time, I don't want to put myself in situations that are questionable, potentially sinful, or ones that I cannot handle well "at this time."
I know that I have a lot of work to do as a Christ follower and "recovering" adulterer and "sinner." I am still a work in progress, regardless of how much growth I have experienced this past two and a half years. I am overcoming years of personal and spiritual neglect. I want to keep moving forward and let God have His way in me - fully. Surrendering daily to Him is crucial. I wake up every day needing to remind myself of my need for Christ.
One question that I ask myself and God often is, "How do I do relate to people that I have difficulty being around, shouldn't be around, or need "time off" from, in a God-honoring way?" This week the thought came to mind that seems to help me process and understand this. Hopefully it is God speaking to me and not my flesh. Three words that gave me some clarity:
Grace with Space.
With God's help, I can offer grace and/or forgiveness, while maintaining personal space. I may not spend time with this person, become friends with them, or ever want to be around them, however, I can still have a spirit of grace. Or, when I take time "off" from the relationship, I can work on me and determine best what God wants to show me. He may say that the relationship is permanently over, or He may say wait a while. Or, He may be waiting on me to submit to His will and not "run" from His leading.
As the book by R.T. Kendall called Total Forgiveness teaches:
- Forgiveness is not approval.
- Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation.
Colossians 3:17, English Standard Version (ESV)
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.