Monday, May 9, 2011


7th grade.

I was just starting Junior High.

I was a dork.

Yes, it's true. Don't argue with me – I have the pictures to prove it!

But, I had a great best friend. And she was popular!

And, we had all seven of our classes together – YAY! So I wasn't quite as nervous about going to a big school with older kids. My friend was right by my side…

…until one day, she wasn't.

All of a sudden, one day she started to completely ignore me. She refused to look at me or talk to me. It was weird – and extremely painful.

But things got worse.

Remember I told you she was popular? Yeah, well, that meant that everyone else rallied to her side.

I became a social leper.

As if that wasn't bad enough, this "friend" started taunting me. And she got others to do the same thing. They would whisper and point and giggle. They would sing songs about me – making fun of the way I looked. They would call me names.

(Do you have your hankies out yet? Sniff, sniff…)

This went on for weeks.

Of course, I told my mother about it. And finally, she decided it was time to confront the problem. We set up a meeting with "friend's" mother.

I can so vividly remember that meeting.

My mom and I sat on one side of the living room, talking to the mother on the other side of the room. Of course, she denied it all.

"My daughter would never do that. She's a very nice girl. She's friendly to everyone…Blah, blah, blah."

And, the whole time that she was talking, my "friend" kept appearing in the hallway behind her, sticking her tongue out at me and my mom – persistent in her silent jeering.

The hazing didn't let up.

I wanted to move. I wanted to die.

Finally, one day, "friend" walked up to me and said, "Sorry. I guess I was in a bad mood."


Frankly, I was so relieved that the whole ordeal was over, I didn't say anything except, "Oh, that's OK."

And everything was OK again.

But this incident stuck with me until – well, it's stuck with me my whole life, if I'm honest.

It was terribly damaging.

It's only been in my adult life that I've been able to see all the spiritual lessons in this situation.

How Jesus was ignored, and taunted, and betrayed. How He totally understood what I was feeling. How He cried over my tears. How His heart felt sad…

If I was Him, I'd wonder –

"Seriously, Father – are these the people I came to die for? They're terrible. They're mean and petty and small-minded. They hurt each other. They have a deep capacity for cruelty, and such an ingrained heart of selfishness."

If I was Him, I'd probably give up on us.

But I'm not Him – (aren’t you glad??? I know I am!)

What did He say?

He said the simply impossible, and the impossibly simple thing.

Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

It makes no sense, it doesn't come naturally, we can't do it in our own power. But that is the heart of God's Kingdom – the upside down reversal of all that we normally think and feel and do.

His foolishness = absolute Wisdom.

I forgave my friend in my heart – eventually. And one of the reasons why? Because at other times in my life, if I'm honest, I've been her. I've hurt others, I've ignored them, I've been cruel…

I've been the one undeserving of forgiveness and love.

But…I was loved.

"Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."
(Romans 5:6-8)

Oh, Lord – thank you for the awesome gift of Your Grace…

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. OH Sharon,

    This post is so apt for so many reasons today. Yes it does bring tears to my eyes. I agree with you, people who are hurting, hurt others and we are all guilty. Now that is hard enough to deal with as an adult, but for a child it is very hard, for a mother or grandmother watch the child suffer, it is very hard. Please pray for my grandson Callum, because something like you describe is happening to him at this moment in time. Please pray for my daughter Amanda as she tries to cope with it and for me too, need lots of wisdom. Thank you Sharon, for once again sharing from the heart.

    Hugs - Nita.

  2. I've been both girls. Like you, I thank God for saving and forgiving me. May I never forget the 70 x 7...

  3. Amen to this one, Sharon. God gave your the gift of introspection to share with us today.

    It's a God Thing that my SS lesson was in part about our reaction to those who persecute us. It was from a Pauline text. I think that he, more than any in the Bible, knew that he had been both persecuted and persecutor.

  4. So thankful for God's grace and Jesus' showing us how to live in the example he gave us to truly love our enemies and those who persecute us. It is a hard lesson to learn though when we are going through it. You are right, Sharon, it does hurt to get teased or treated like this; I feel to this day for anyone in middle school, I think those are the hardest years in school!

    hope you had a nice Mother's Day!


  5. Sharon - this post is a great reminder to follow Jesus example to love our enemies and pray for them. I was also bullied some in school and it hurts.

    I often think of how Jesus, knowing Judas was going to betray Him, still chose him as one of the disciples. Even on the night He was betrayed, he still washed Judas' feet. Wow, could I do that? Sure causes me to think.

  6. As Sonja said, I have been both girls too.
    I am so glad we have Jesus as our example
    and that He taught us how to forgive.
    I can't believe you were ever a dork,
    Sharon. :0)

  7. oooh Sharon...I'm speechless and yes, I had the kleenex for tears because this is such a sad tale. It pains me that this rejection and friend's betrayal hung with you through your adult life. Impactful and far too powerful. The heart wounded is so fragile.

    I thought it was more a contemporary problem of our poor children and youth today but you're taking us back and showing us that it's existed for quite some time... all the way to Jesus. Now that really makes this tearful. Yet your lessons shared and words of wisdom from God's Word hold the key. I wondered often how we can help the underdog and the ones being bullied. This is/was one of my biggest struggles and concerns as a primary teacher, even stopping fights and getting the punch instead. Yet my heart ached often... and I wondered how to stop persecutors.

    Yep, PRAY for those who persecute you... I'm surprised that so many in the above comments could identify. I'm thankful to say I don't.
    I also hope I am not guilty of hurting either.
    Jesus' precious example truly humbles me and like Joan, I'm not sure that I could/would be able to do that. I dealt with a spirit of rejection also but now I'm not sure why 'cuz it was not from friends (maybe some boyfriends).

    God's grace is enough...sufficient but hearts that wound other's hearts is a big concern and how we must STOP it is important. To know the lasting impact makes it even more crucial. I'm so sorry that this happened to you. I pray God's loving healing touch over those 7th grade woes and ask that Father helps anyone in a situation like this and send in the Rescue! I'm glad that you were able to forgive said friend and betrayal. How close you can empathize with Jesus. I like how you wrote "Seriously Father...
    petty, cruel, mean..." which opened my eyes to think on this from God's perspective and be more mystified on how He would love us inspite of all this... He is so Awesome!

    Thanks Sharon!

    Many blessings, love and peace,

  8. Sharon, the way you share you past just touches my heart. What happened to you is so painful. And just like that, your "friend" says she was simply having a bad mood. If you ask me, no real friend would do that to anyone. And of course, we understand that we all have sinned in similar ways, so not one of us is in a position to judge her for what she did. But, nevertheless, I can say without judgment in my heart that I just don't think she was a real friend.

    One thing I really appreciate from your post is how easily your heart forgave her. You were the one healed, and the one who showed the meaning of true friendship.

    When emotional wounding such as what happened to you happens, trust is broken, and it takes a long time to rebuild trust.

    I know that your painful experience has helped greatly to shape what you have become today. So, you gain much in the end by extending forgiveness.

    Thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully, Sharon.


  9. I think of this song by Taylor Swift - Why do you have to be so mean - talks about bullying in high school. I think we all have had some situations like that - we didn't understand.


  10. I think about this a lot -

    "If I was Him, I'd wonder –

    'Seriously, Father – are these the people I came to die for? They're terrible. They're mean and petty and small-minded. They hurt each other. They have a deep capacity for cruelty, and such an ingrained heart of selfishness.'"

    Then I remember that's me. *I'm* terrible, petty, small-minded, hurtful, etc.

    I think what's amazing about experiences like this is that even if/when we're able to forgive as we should, we still remember. We can't forget. Jesus takes that one step further - he wipes our slate clean. He removes our transgressions from us.

    I love it!

  11. Hi Sharon -

    Thank you for sharing this story from your life.
    It was encouraging to know that you firmly believe in love and forgiveness.

    Yes, we must love and forgive our enemies. It can be a process but when we have sincere hearts to do so, our Lord will gladly help us to conquer ungodly strongholds.

    Also, our enemies are to be thanked because their opposition provides affirmation that Satan is displeased with us. That is a good thing because when Satan is displeased with our holy choices, our Father GOD glows with pleasure! Praise His holy name!!!

  12. Nita - Callum, and your entire family, will be in my prayers. The pain is terrible, but watching it happen to a child is worse, I think. Because we often feel so helpless. God is the champion of the brokenhearted - and I know that He is working in this painful situation.

    Sonja - Yes, I hate the *mean girl* part of me that I've displayed. But grateful for God's forgiveness. 70 x 7 = God's math...may I never forget that.

    Debbie - Such a good point. I never thought about Paul being both - but you're so right. A perfect example. Persecution is awful - and only God can provide the comfort we need. Only He can motivate us to the heart of forgiveness.

    Betty - I agree. Middle school is a battlefield. It is for boys, too. My sons had some terrible experiences then, too. But, we're all capable of unkind words and acts. Praying that God will exhibit His kindness and acceptance through me.

    Joan - Yes, Jesus is such an example of humility. You're right, He knew about Judas. And I have to think that in spite of it all, He loved Him. Jesus knew - by experience - what it was like to love your enemies.

    Sandy - We have been taught by perfect example how to forgive. Giving that acceptance has to be the Spirit's work, doesn't it? (Trust me - dork was me. Maybe I'm just a late bloomer!!)

    Peggy - Thank you so much for your comments. I suppose the hurts we have borne in our own hearts, should make us more careful not to hurt others. Bullying is a huge problem - and what bigger bully is there besides our enemy? He's the one who tempts us to be mean, after all. The problem is a human heart problem - the solution lies in the heart, too.

    Lidj - Oh, thank you for your kind comments. I totally agree, this person was not a true friend. And our "friendship" did not last beyond the next year. Though I never enjoyed the pain, I suppose that it did shape me. And God has used the pain in my life to show me His comfort, and He has enabled me to be more empathetic to others. Isn't that what it's all about?

    Sandie - Yes, when we're young, sometimes we just don't have the foresight to know what we're doing. It's sad how those early experiences, though sometimes unintentional, still leave scars. These scars can only be healed by the scarred hands of our Savior.

    Jennie - Oh yes, forgiveness happens, but we still remember. How awesome that God gives us that blank slate. "What sin??" He says!! We deserve none of this - and yet, He lavishly gives it to us. His love is certainly worlds above my own.

    Sandra - I like your perspective on how opposition can affirm that we're on the right path, if you will. I was reminded of the opposition that Nehemiah faced while re-building the wall of Jerusalem. It was like God's stamp of approval on the work, wasn't it?!


  13. Thank you for your kind comments!

    My original responses were wiped out (thanks, Blogger...)

    However, I so appreciated all of you dropping in and leaving me such heartfelt remarks.

    Praising the Lord who knows our heartaches, and who comforts our pain. What an awesome High Priest He is!



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)