I Slipped

“Hey, friend. Haven’t heard from you for a while. Miss you.”

I stared at the unsent text to my friend of almost 3 years. Since she moved across the state, we stay in touch via texts. Every 2-3 days, we check in with each other. 

But it had been more than a week since hearing from her.
Telling myself not to worry, I hit “Send.”

I tried to get on with my day, tried to calm my fears, tried to cast them on Jesus.

Mostly, it worked. Until, a few hours later, I saw her reply: “Can you call me? It’s a 10.”

You see, she and I had become friends at her lowest point. Embroiled in a life-altering sin, my friend doubted that she could change.  Emerging from this sin would require her to sever almost all of her relationships, leave her job, and, ultimately, move across the state to start anew. 

In the beginning of our friendship, when she was taking her first faltering steps on the path of restoration laid out by God, she would text me when she was tempted. She would rate the temptation on a 1-10 scale. An 8 or above would bring me running to her side.

“It’s a 10.” I was scared for her all over again when I saw that.

I hit the call button next to her text. She picked up on the first ring. Waiting for my call.

“I slipped,” she whispered.

I didn’t need to hear anymore to know that my friend had succumbed to temptation.

Her audible tears conveyed her shame, her regret. Even her frustration that, when tempted, she had not relied on our ever-faithful God and His-provided way out of the alluring snare.

As difficult as it was for her to confess her sin, it was just as bewildering for me to know what to say.
If she had been in front of me, face to face, as had happened before, I probably wouldn’t have said anything. I would have sat next to her. Waited until the initial storm of remorse had abated. And, then, as she stepped back on the path of restoration, I would walk alongside her.

But now, with the Rocky Mountains between us, I couldn’t do that. I asked her, “When?”

“Ten days ago,” she said.

Ten days – when she stopped communicating. For ten days, her sin had rendered her silent. For ten days, my friend had felt God’s hand heavy upon her, her unconfessed sin sapping her strength.

How do I know this? Because I, too, have stayed silent about my iniquities. I have ineptly attempted to cover up my guilt before the Lord. I intimately know the weighty hand of God upon my soul.

“Ten days,” I repeated into the phone. My friend remained silent.

I took a big breath and quickly spilled my confession: “Ten days ago, I spoke harshly to a person I love. I still haven’t asked his forgiveness. I asked God to damn a stranger because she cut me off in traffic. And when a friend needed to talk, I ignored her message because I didn’t want to be bothered.”

“Jesus forgives you, Karen,” my friend quietly said.

“Jesus forgives you, my friend,” I answered.

We spoke a bit more, me mostly listening as to how my friend would, once again, restore her relationship with God.  And we prayed together that God would heal us from our sins. When we hung up, my friend’s voice was stronger, her spirit refreshed. 

I sat for a while, thinking about what had occurred. I realized that, before that call, I had never done what God instructs us to do. “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” {James 5 : 16a}

Especially when compared to my friend’s sin, I had thought my sins to be small. More like indiscretions. Sure, I had slipped a few times but it was nothing to change my life over.  Nothing to talk about.

But now, after I had confessed and been forgiven, just like my friend, I felt stronger, refreshed. I want my life to change.

In the eyes of God, my friend’s sins and my sins are equally repugnant. When hidden unconfessed, they weigh heavy on both our souls, shoving our spirits down into sickly shame. 

Thank God for the blood of Jesus equally covering my friend’s sins and my sins. That He hears our prayers and, once more heals us.

See You In The Round,

*Scripture quotations are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.