doorI felt the clamminess of my palms as I rang her doorbell. She and I had been friends years ago, but the choices I had made now separated us. Would she entertain rekindling a relationship with me again?

I went to her house to tell her I was sorry for doing the things I had done—that I hoped she could forgive me for all my foolishness and sinful behavior. I wanted to tell her I realized I hadn’t taken into consideration how others would be affected by my actions. That I had made a real mess of things—my life. I wanted to say I was sorry.

I wanted to tell her there was good news! I had learned from my mistakes. I had turned the corner. I was on the way to becoming the person God intended me to be. I had hoped she’d be happy for me. I thought she’d celebrate a Prodigal Daughter finding her way back home.

That’s what I thought. But I was wrong.

When she opened the door, her eyes gave her away–first of unrecognition, then of remembrance. I saw it flash across her face as she remembered me. Then came the frozen smile. The smile reserved for those we have to be kind to but would prefer not to know. Her lips smiled while her eyes shot daggers at me. She stepped outside, not letting me into her house.

“Hi, it’s been a long time? How are you?” I asked, trying to warm the coolness between us.

“Good. Good.” Then with a polite, hushed voice, “You look good.”

I asked about her family. Her brothers and sisters. Her children and husband. I knew them all. I had laughed over dinner with each one of them. I had tucked her children to bed at night. We had been like sisters. Once.

“Good, good. We’re all good here.”

“I came to tell you I’m sorry. I made a mess of things years ago. I did things that set into motion consequences I didn’t understand. I hurt you. Can you coffeeforgive me? I’d like to make things right between us again. Could you see your way to giving me a second chance?”

There it was. I had exposed my emotional underbelly. I felt my chest tightening. Every fiber in me wanted to hear that she’d let me earn her trust back. That’s when it happened: she blinked and looked down.

“Don’t be silly, we’re good. I’m sorry, but I have … something to do. I have to go.”

“Maybe we can have coffee sometime?” I needed time to follow-up, tell her about how I had changed. I had given my life to Christ and was a new creature. I wanted to see her smile again.

“Oh, I don’t know,” she purred.” My days are pretty full. But it was good to see you. Yeah, it was … good. Take care of yourself. I’ll give you a call sometime.”

With that, she backed into her house, closed and locked the door behind her.

Sometimes situations don’t go as planned. You follow your script. You offer repentance—true repentance—and even ask for suggestions on how to re-build trust. You open up. You become vulnerable and transparent. And the door still closes in your face. You experience Christian invisibility—when you’re told things are good, but clearly they aren’t.

Painful—yes. Not what you expect—yes. All lost—absolutely not!

colored-pencils-1090000_1920Forgiveness is for the person forgiving as much as the person forgiven, and so are the effects of making amends. You may walk up to a door as I did and suffer the same shame and heartbreak, but the amend did not go unnoticed. Apostle Paul tells us how to live like Christ designed in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” As far as it depends on you. Those words carry power and freedom.

You may get shut out of lives because of choices you made in the past, but please remember those sins were covered by Jesus’ blood when he died for our sins.

When you walk up to a door, know your audience includes Christ Jesus himself! He saw you. He felt your conviction and broken spirit when you offered to make the relationship right again. He saw making amends to your past friend wasn’t enough for them—but it was enough for Him.

When making amends doesn’t seem to be enough, focus on whose opinion counts the most. Focus on Christ. And if you do not know Christ, oh, friend, please ask to know him right now. Your heart will forever be changed.

12 thoughts on “When Making Amends Isn’t Enough

  1. What a powerful message on forgiveness! And well written and explained. Thanks for being so vulnerable at the door and with us!!

    1. Thanks, Tammy. When I heard the phrase, “Christian Invisibility,” I understood the meaning immediately and had to share with others who may have felt it, too. My heart is to share with all my repenting brothers and sisters that Jesus forgives. Others may not, but His opinion of me is most important.

      I may want acceptance from my peers, but I need acceptance from my Savior. And his shed blood and death shows that I have it! Oh, that I always strive to please Him and not those around me.

      Thanks for taking a moment to leave a comment. Love you, girl.

  2. This post hit directly into my heart this morning. I’ve been dealing with this for 30 years. Christian invisibility, from my PARENTS. It began over thirty years ago. And I have since spent those thirty years trying every which way to get them to forgive me. Love me. And then one day, I realized I had spent my last day in sorrowful repentance. God raised me up and said, “No more!” I had beat myself up for the very last time. Thank you for this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    1. Pam –

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. Your words soothe my heart. It’s the WORST when it’s family, right? One day, I too, heard in my spirit, “You think they’re staying away from you … but have you considered I’m keeping your heart safe by protecting you?” Ever since then, my focus has changed. I continue to “heap coals of kindness” on family members in the hope that they see Christ in me. It’s not to win them over, it’s because that’s what Jesus wants. Looking at it in that way, I’m okay with the cool receptions. It’s not about them or me anymore.

      I appreciate you and your willingness to share. Thank you once again. Stay tuned to more posts.


    1. Thanks, Ann, for taking the time to comment. Trying to carry a burden that wasn’t mine to carry was what was brave … and senseless. While making amends is painful for a moment or two, the freedom that comes after is priceless.

      Just having you here has blessed me today. Thank you.

      Hugs, Robin

  3. Thank you, Robin. Powerful words and so well said. Forgiveness is so hard sometimes, but it’s a must. Thanks again! Blessings to you for sharing your heart.

  4. Such wise advice, Robin. True freedom is only accessed through embracing the truth of Scripture! Much love from SC to you, my friend.

  5. I admire your great courage, Robin! Thanks for sharing this and inspiring me to focus on Christ.

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