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There she is. That smile, underscored by an obnoxious personality.

She is staring at me from a facebook photo with a few new crinkles around her eyes, but that same over-confidant expression was boring holes into my peace.
Go away.
One click of the mouse sent her image from the screen, but memories of her look-at-me-I’m-smart-laugh kept haunting me as I tried to push away memories of school, youth group and mean girls.
Yeah, youth group. She was one of us, a fellow believer in Christ and yet I was offended by her habit of talking to us shy kids as if we were slowwwww.
I couldn’t have felt more different.

Here I go to Olive Garden with two of my closest friends. The kind I can laugh with until the tears swim over my cheeks. The kind where making mistakes is ok, because forgiveness runs rampant with those that are closer than sisters.
These are the same, my kindred spirits.

And then God tells me to quit building walls in the midst of family.

“Who? That girl, that…loudmouth?”

“The whole family”, He says and lets that settle into my spirit.

God often uses other people as the chisel to carve true integrity into our rough personalities. A chisel that never scrapes the stone is useless. -Beth Moore

I'm on the bottom left. Laurin, one of the Olive Garden group in on top.

I’m on the bottom left. Laurin, one of the Olive Garden group, is on top.

From childhood we learn that safety is in clicks. We find our way into those youthful support groups, feeling protected in our position by our family of whoever’s: the cheer squad, the fashionistas, the jocks, and of course, the free spirits.

And then we construct walls to keep the rest of them out. They don’t think like us, therefore they belong over there. If you point your finger, make sure it’s outward.

So we are all aiming our disdain at each other, heading for another war called civil, but this time it’s reaches past the blood and rips the soul…we exist in a distraction-war while the true enemy laughs at us unseen.

I see him now. He is breathing lies into our ears. He is the one guiding our fingers, causing this dirty thing called offense to cover our truest vision.

It stops or we lose.

We are family eternal. If we stand shoulder to shoulder, and sew all of our flags into one, we win.

So that obnoxious grin is no worse than my reaction. I will choose not to be offended.

One. Family. In. Christ.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.1 Peter 4:8