“You had potential” wrote a long lost friend recently. I had injured him deeply 15 years ago. I wonder if he has yet to forgive me.
We had gone on vacation and I trespassed greatly against his conscience and God's Way. I had lost my mind and acted out of character. I rebelled. It was disgusting. He witnessed my rebellion and I believe my actions profoundly affected his faith.
I was a 'leader' at the church we both attended, beginning to be behind the podium. This group had devolved to put their faith into others; depending on men for strength. I too misplaced my faith in God and had it in myself, my strength, and the strength of those around me. Once my surroundings had changed, I justified my actions and pursued women during our two and a half week vacation in Asia. I was ashamed of my actions. I became someone else; my old self. Unbelievable now considering where my heart had been.
Returning from the trip he pretty much dismissed me from his life. I wrote him a letter of apology, hoping to hear a response from him. Nothing. I didn't expect the friendship to return as before, but at least acknowledgment of my forgiveness plea. The one time thereafter I saw him, he looked at me as if I had leprosy.
The church group focused on self-righteousness over grace and love, aiming to physically root out sin instead of allowing God's love and grace to move and reveal the hearts. I misunderstood God's grace.
My backsliding found me leaving this group shortly after this incident. I anathematized myself.
So recently when we communicated via email, I expressed how I missed his friendship. His third/final response stung me as if I was reliving that episode 15 years ago.