The Art of Mirriam Neal

//I need you to read this.

Once upon a time, there was a teenaged girl. This girl and her best friend had overactive imaginations and were curious – literally – to a fault. One day, these girls, out of sinful curiosity, decided to role-play as some of their fictional characters, for plotting purposes. The characters switched around, the stories spiraled downward, and things quickly got out of hand as sinful curiosity took over. This teenaged girl and her best friend, under cover of darkness and guilt, proceeded to act out situations that involved making out. This happened twice; each time accompanied by an oppressive blanket of guilt and the seething knowledge that this was wrong and – yeah, really gross. This was the beginning of the end for this friendship as peer pressure and manipulation drenched the girl in so much guilt she couldn’t take it, and began to pull away from the toxicity.

The girl was me, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, and I’m telling you this for a reason. After a long struggle with a heavy burden, I moved past the guilt. I knew God forgave me, and the guilt became a profound regret. I tried to right the friendship; to take it back to what it had been, but that proved impossible. I knew what I had done was wrong – it didn’t even come from attraction for my best friend. Curiosity has always been probably my biggest strength and my biggest weakness, and the experiment, as it were, left me feeling dirty and worthless. As I accepted God’s forgiveness, I forgave myself – to the point where I actually forgot what had happened.

Until a few days ago, when out of nowhere my ex-best friend’s new best friend commented on something another friend posted on Facebook. I mentioned this in my open letter, but I hoped that I had calmed everything down; that people could be reasonable, that people would understand that something bad that happened years ago doesn’t have bearing on people who learned from their mistakes, grew, and changed. I was wrong.

Instead, I was slammed with threats and blackmail – with this person calling me a hypocrite and a pretender, saying I acted like some ‘good Christian girl’ with a ‘secret like this on my conscience.’ I was confused at first. This ‘secret’ had nothing to do with my friends – it didn’t even have anything to do with who I am today. But it refused to die down, and so here I am, telling you.

I kissed a girl, twice, and I didn’t like it. I’m also asking your forgiveness. Everyone carries the burden of past sins, and everyone has consequences. My consequence is a deep regret. But mistakes are for learning, and I learned many things through that experience – I learned what not to do, I learned that I didn’t want to do things that would weigh me down. I learned what true friendship looks like – and what manipulation looks like. In short – I learned. I’m telling you all this because if you do hear it, I don’t want it to be from my enemy. I want it to be from me. I want to be honest with you, and to tell you that I’m not perfect, and I never have been. To tell you that, as I type this, I feel an enormous sense of relief washing over me. To let you know that I’m here for you, if you ever want to talk about a burden you’re carrying or an anchor weighing you down. I’m here if you ever want to tell me about your guilt or regrets. I’m here because I understand what it feels like.

This is my apology, this is my statement, and this is me – a person growing and changing and, hopefully, improving with every minute of life.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, and thought he forbearance of God;

To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and thet justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

  • Romans 3:23-26

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