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  • Renata Joseph

"Peace" of my Heart


Several years ago, as a newly stay-at-home mom of two young kids, I felt God encourage me to start a friendship with another mom from church. Over the years I did my best to be a good friend to her. I walked with her through some very dark times in her life and marriage. I spoke the truth in love and had patience for her journey, chaotic as it was. She was a good listener and supported me too.


Over the years, our husbands became friends and now we had de facto cousins for our kids to have sleepovers with. We took family trips, ate meals, played games and sang karaoke together. We had completely different views of the world, but our common faith and love for each other meant we could share our perspectives without harming each other.


Then came 2020 and all the political and social media hysteria that came with it. Out of the blue one day, several months ago, we got an email from my friend. A mutual acquaintance had tipped her off that we "hated America" and they would be withdrawing their support of our ministry. My friend and her husband said they too could no longer in good conscience send their American dollars to support our work here.


I was shocked and wounded that these dear friends would sever ties with us over our convictions about racism. They didn't offer to have a conversation about how we came to those convictions, instead they sent us videos of black people who shared their perspective, so we'd understand how wrong we are. At the time, and over the ensuing months, we didn't have the energy (with everything else that's going on) to fight for that friendship, so we let them walk away.


A theme in some of our youth work lately has been relationships. We've looked at how some of those relationships can become toxic. We've discussed how we can love others, but establish healthy boundaries etc. I shared how sometimes those relationships end, and that that's ok.


The thing is, I don't feel ok. This isn't the first time a close friend has walked away because of my convictions, and I'll tell ya, it sucks.


Romans 12:18 says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."


As a middle child, I am a peace-maker. I want everyone to get along and to respect each other's opinions. One of my childhood tendencies is to try to coerce and manipulate people into my version of peace. This is sin.


I cannot make other people live at peace with me or anyone else. I can't make people understand my heart or even care enough to try. I cannot control if friends want to be in my life or spit on my grave. All I can do is "if it is possible, as far as it depends on (me), live at peace with everyone."


So, hurt and disappointed, I will pray for my friend, wish her the best and live my life at peace.



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