One of the worst things that a person can do is to lash out against one's own best friend. Even if that friend has said some hurtful things, the offended party only adds to the pain by striking back.
Last Thursday, I was both the offended and, sadly, the offender. I was angry at my best friend because I did not think that he cared about liturgical integrity and he had said some hurtful things to me. Rather than take it in, I lashed back about three days later. It was not my finest moment. Even though I've already gone to confession about the situation, and I have tried to apologize, I said some really awful things, things that, in hindsight, should never have been said.
Through the years my friend has been tolerant of me. This is not the first time we've engaged in Godzilla v. Mothra style arguments. Most of the time, the arguments center around liturgy, even though we tend to be on the same page 99% of the time. Unfortunately, I have greatly hurt him on numerous occasions, just as he has hurt me. In this particular case, both of us said things that really did not help the situation. Sadly, this happened right before Lent.
I have been praying about this ever since Monday. I was hard on him because he hurt me. It's the typical reaction I tend to have when someone hurts me. I suppose it's the typical reaction that anyone has; however, it is not a Christ-like reaction by any means. What is worse is that I tend to shoot first and ask questions later. This may work for a John Wayne movie or for Ziva David in NCIS, but, not when dealing with people I love.
While I was pondering the situation, I was inspired to look at the Preface for the Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation II:
Even more, by your Spirit you move human heartsthat enemies may speak to each other again,adversaries may join hands,and peoples seek to meet together.
By the working of your powerit comes about, O Lord,that hatred is overcome by love,revenge gives way to forgiveness,and discord is changed to mutual respect.
Even though my friend and I are not enemies (at least, I hope not), I think that this prayer certainly applies to our situation. It is never a good time to argue with someone. The fact that this whole episode occurred just six days before Lent, the season par excellence of reconcilation, is a really bad way to begin this holy time of the year.
In my case, I do not have the right to my friend's forgiveness, but, I have already forgiven him. Maybe God allows arguments like this to happen, especially during this time, to help us to see what reconciliation truly means. I do not know if my friend and I will speak again. I hope we can because he has been a blessing to me in more ways than he will ever know. I can only pray and make the preface prayer my own.