I have had the privilege of being gently rebuked by several of my friends lately, for various reasons, and I am thankful for their loving honesty. For different reasons, there has been a lot of hurt that has either been caused by me, or by misunderstandings surrounding us, and I am thankful that my friends have been willing to share how these things have hurt them, and have been willing to work through them with me. The “wounds of a friend” are wounds that I treasure. Today, I was reminded of something Corrie Ten Boom wrote in her book, Tramp For the Lord:
One afternoon Connie and I were sitting in the garden… when we were interrupted by [William] walking toward our hill… After we exchanged greetings [with him], he said, “When I saw you sitting here together a question came to my mind, ‘Do they walk in the light together?'”
We answered almost simultaneously, “Oh, yes, we do walk in the light together. We are a team.”
Just at that moment a boy from the house called that there was a telephone message for me. I excused myself while Conny and William remained behind to talk.
“I have something to confess to you,” Connie said to William.
“And what is that?” he answered gently.
“Your question gripped my heart. I must tell you that I do not really walk in the light with Tante Corrie.”
Williams face broke into a wide grin and his eyes began to sparkle. “So, that is why God had me ask that strange question.”
Conny was serious. “Tante Corrie is so much more mature than I,” she continued. “She has walked with Jesus for so many years. She has suffered much for Him in many ways. Thus when I see things in her life that are not right, I hesitate to speak them out to her.”
“Oh,” William said, startled. “That is not right. The Lord wants you to be very honest with Tante Corrie. That is one reason He has put you with her. Since she is walking in the light when you also walk in the light, you will help shed light for her path as well as yours.”
That night, after we had gone to our room together, Conny sat on the side of the bed and said, “Tante Corrie, this is very difficult for me to say, but I now realize I must walk in the light.”
I turned and looked at her. Her face was drawn and solemn. One by one she began listing the things in my life which bothered her – the things I did which she did not believe glorified God. It was not easy for me to hear the things which I had done wrong – things which had caused a shadow to come in Conny’s heart. But how wonderful it was that Conny was being completely honest with me. I apologized for the things she had listed and then thanked her for bringing them into the light. “Let us always walk in the light together,” I said seriously.
But it was still hard for Conny. She was much younger than I and felt she was still learning. Even though I wanted her to continue to correct me, she found it very difficult. The final breakthrough came after we left Africa and flew to Brazil.
We had been in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautiful cities of the world, for a few weeks. As we prepared to leave – to fly south to Buenos Aires – we discovered our suitcases were overweight. The kind people in Rio had given us so many presents we were more than twenty kilograms overweight. It was going to cost us a great deal of extra money to go on to Argentina.
I unpacked my luggage and made three piles: one to send to Holland by sea, one to give away to the poor in Rio, and the smallest one to go back in my suitcase to carry on to our next destination. Finishing my repacking I hurried next door into Conny’s room and unpacked her suitcase also. I went through the same procedure, sorting her belongings into three heaps and then repacking only her necessary items. I was in too much of a hurry to notice that Conny said nothing.
A week later, after a beautiful time in Buenos Aires, we were walking along a lonely stretch of beach near our cabin, I was enjoying the beautiful view over a quiet bay when Conny began to talk. Her voice was strained, “I promised God I would walk in the light,” she said, “and that means that I must get something settled with you. When you repacked my suitcase and decided what things to send to Holland and what to leave with me, I was not happy about it,”
How stupid and tactless I had been to rush in and interfere with Conny’s life! I reached out and took her hand. “How thoughtless I have been,” I said. “Forgive me for not leaving it up to you.”
“I do forgive you,” Conny said. Like myself, she had learned not to play lightly with sin, but to hear another’s apology and then, instead of passing it off, to forgive it. We walked on for a long time in silence and then Conny spoke again.
“Are you unhappy, Tante Corri? You are so quiet.”
Now it was my time to walk in the light. “There is something hindering me,” I said. “Why did you not tell me immediately that you were disturbed? That way it could have been settled on the spot and you would not have had to carry this darkness for all these days. From now on let us both ‘speak the truth in love’ and lever let the sun go down on our misunderstandings.”
It was a good lesson. From then until Conny married in 1967 and went to live with her husband, we walked all over the world – always trying to walk in the light.
These words speak to my heart today, not only because I write them as a request to my friends to “walk in the light” with me, but also because I see there are things that I, also, need to speak to some people about. Please, friends, whether we are close or mostly acquaintances, whether you are past clients or current blog readers or future family members (now would be a good time to mention that my brother has [FINALLY] asked his love to marry him!), please “walk in the light” with me, and never hesitate to tell me if you feel I am in error. Will it hurt? Yea, it will. It may be painful for both of us, but God will shine His light and His love on us, and it will be more than worth it. I will do the same, and in so doing we will have fellowship with one another and grow together in love.
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” – John 1:17