This morning, a little lie was exposed… but it has me reflecting on a bigger moment from the past. I’ll get there in just a second.
I listed an item on ebay for sale a few days ago, and the auction was due to close this morning. I received a message late last night. The person said that their child had accidentally bid on my item and asked if I wouldn’t mind cancelling the transaction. No big deal, I did. This morning wake up, the auction is closed, I print out the shipping for the winner, packed up, ready to drop off at the post office. Another message comes in from the person who requested that I cancel their child’s bid.
In essence the message claimed that he had bid on the item, then his child bid on the item from their account accidentally. He claimed I cancelled both bids. I responded that I only cancelled the one & explained the process, and shared the auction ended thus the item wasn’t for sale any longer. Another message comes back, now he’s argumentative. Honestly, I have no idea what this guy wanted me to do about it. I responded back that the item had already shipped to the winner. Messages flurry in.
It became apparent as I read the messages that he had lied from the start. My first educated guess is that he made multiple bids on the same item, and panicked when he realized he was about to win all of the auctions. Not needing more than 1, he tried to get out of the other commitments. My second educated guess is that in the end, he probably lost the auction that he kept and now isn’t getting anything. Again, not sure what he expected me to do about any of this… my auction ended fair and square (not to mention, I didn’t have to cancel when he requested it. I was being kind).
In the communication he must have realized that he was getting caught in his initial dishonesty, as he back tracked to cover up. He need not worry, I’m not reporting anyone to Ebay today. Ha. If I’m right and he lost out completely on the collectible item he wanted… then that is punishment enough. Right?
All of this brought me to think about how people react when they get caught lying, or doing something wrong. We pass the buck on to someone else (their mistake, they misinterpreted, etc.). We lie more to cover up our error. Or, sometimes we just try to avoid it or the person completely.
Within the last couple of years, the latter played out. Some people said somethings they shouldn’t have, and when confronted they tried to throw me under the bus. Well, actually all but one did so successfully. Even though I was addressing the issue head on, and even though one other person admitted the truth… so many spoke against me that it outweighed my own defense and the one other person from the group who was totally honest. I get it, self preservation will often win out … when you feel backed in a corner.
Knowing that I was was honest, that I had been wronged, I made two decisions. I would face them head on, holding to the truth. I would also forgive them, even if they didn’t ask for it. They never have, to this day. Even though I still showed up, said hi, met for lunches… they never said a word. No explanation for why they did what they did, nor a sorry… not even an inquisition on the fall out from it. The subject was the elephant in the room, you could sense it, but no one dared look at it or speak of it.
Over time, those relationships waned. Not because of me, but rather because they distanced themselves from me. I think the weight of it was too much to bear. Imagine facing someone you wronged, week after week… knowing what you did, never acknowledging it, and knowing that this person has every right to be angry with you and yet they are not. The innocent person keeps showing up, keeps loving, keeps caring. I think this is what “heaping coals” means in the Scriptures. Mind you, I wasn’t intentionally trying to make anyone feel guilt or remorse, nor force an apology. I just think that over time, you begin to feel the weight of your actions that you have not repented of… to the point you must do something.
You either face them, or hide from them. These women have hidden from me. They can’t face me. I am beginning to wonder if they will ever be able to face me without reconciling what they did. Do they not realize that is all it would take for them to release this guilt they are carrying? Needlessly, I might add… because I’ve long forgiven them. I’m not angry, nor hurt. Yes, I’d be super appreciative if they came clean to those involved and cleared my name. However, I don’t linger over it. That relationship has already been moving toward restoration (although I suppose it would happen faster if my name was cleared, but I’m ok with letting time heal this too).
I loved those friendships dearly, and I am sad that we can’t enjoy our time together like we once did. I also know I’ve done all I can.
Sometimes being honest from the start, even if it means you are going to face some sort of consequence, is better than walking around for years avoiding people because you feel guilty. And, even if you can’t bring yourself to come to the person and apologize… if you can go back and rectify the situation, that is at least a gift to the person. Both speak volumes about how you feel and your desire to do the right thing. But, if you can’t bring yourself to do that… at least own your feelings to yourself. Understand why you are doing what you are doing, why you are avoiding that person (place, project, situation).
Not that long ago a mutual friend said: “She thinks you are mad at her.”
I replied, “I think she’s disappointed in her self. I’m not mad, I was never mad. I was hurt, but I’ve already forgiven her.”
I’m 40, I’ve got no time for drama and petty grudges. I think we can live in peace with one another. I think we can say “hey, I goofed up here… can you forgive me” and move forward without keeping a record of wrongs against one another. We are all imperfect, we all make mistakes.
If you hurt someone, if you never said sorry, if you never confessed the truth, if you never set the record straight about something… there is still time. And if that person is anything like me, they’ll appreciate it. Whether it has been minutes or years.