Tuesday, January 8, 2013

the sucker punch

We're not all going to always get along. We're human. We're all wired differently and at times those wires cross and we might get a little 'shock' from the other. It's part of life and I think for the most part we probably all take it in stride, forgive and forget and move on. But what happens when someone you trusted, admired and respected pulls the rug out from under you? What about when that someone is a brother or sister in Christ?

I was reading the passage from Acts where Paul and Barnabas disagree sharply over bringing John Mark with them on journey. (Acts 15: 36-40) It says their disagreement was so sharp they separated. none of the commentaries I've looked at go into great detail over the argument and of course the woman in me wants to know all! What the commentators do say is that it was not a matter of theology or doctrinal issues that brought them to separation. And they did not allow the issue to derail them from their respective efforts to keep sharing the gospel.

It is my sincere hope that the issue that has come up between me and another will not impede anyone in their spiritual journey.

Still, the issue occurred, the hurt was inflicted and the relationship is broken. The waves of pain over the injury wax and wane like our weather. I wake up some mornings and feel angry. Justified anger. Then the anger simmers and confusion and frustration come to a boil. I feel like crying. I feel like yelling. I make jokes to lighten the mood and think of a myriad of biting comebacks that "I wish I'd said." Then I work on forgiving and forgiving again.....

It isn't the first time a 'friend' has let me down. It wont be the last. But this one really caught me off guard. A real sucker punch. I honestly did not see this coming even though some clues were there. I expected better treatment I guess, a little more respect, a little more grace. Perhaps they had none to give and so the Lord is asking me to give it.  We're working on that one, me and Jesus.

I think it is important to allow ourselves time to heal. Forgiveness is expected as a follower of Christ ( ... make allowances for each other's faults, and forgive the person who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others... Colossians 3.13) but forgiveness does not make the hurt automatically go away. Think about a time you smacked your leg on the open cupboard door or stubbed your toe... or someone stepped on you toe? and it hurts!! Even if the person who stepped on your foot apologizes and you forgive them, the ache in your foot doesn't immediately stop hurting. It takes time.

And during the healing time, we process. I know I do. I replay the conversation and try to understand where they were coming from. Searching out for what I might have done to prevent the whole incident from occurring. Considering how THEY might have done things differently... and there were SO many ways it could have been handled differently, better, and in ways that had left me more intact!

Maybe that is what hurts the most. The way they went about it... shredding me verbally, with such venom that it still causes me to take a deep breath in at the shock of it.

Deep breath.... cleansing breath... praying.... for peace... calming.... healing.... forgiveness....

it's a process.

I'm getting there. The funk has cleared somewhat. I don't feel like I'm sinking into the dark cloud of depression like I did last week. My husband and I talk a lot, sharing how we're feeling today. We have a good prayer support and safe places we can share in more detail as needed.

Spending time in Colossians 3 is a cure all of sorts for me. I recommend it to others when they are struggling and I am applying it liberally in my life right now.

I found this in a book by the wise and wonderful Max Lucado:

Perhaps the wound is old. A parent abused you. A teacher slighted you. And you are angry.
Or perhaps the wound is fresh. The friend who owes you money just drove by in a new car. The boss who hired you with promises of promotions has forgotten how to pronounce your name. Your circle of friends escaped on a weekend getaway, and you weren't invited . .
And you are hurt.
Part of you is broken, and the other part is bitter. Part of you wants to cry, and part of you wants to fight. The tears you cry are hot because they come from your heart, and there is a fire burning in your heart. It's the fire of anger. It's blazing. It's consuming. Its flames leap up under a steaming pot of revenge
And you are left with a decision. "Do I put the fire out or heat it up? Do I get over it or get even? Do I release it or resent it? Do I let my hurts heal, or do I let hurt turn into hate?" . . .
Resentment is the deliberate decision to nurse the offense until it becomes a black, furry, growling grudge.
Unfaithfulness is wrong. Revenge is bad. But the worst part of all is that, without forgiveness, bitterness is all that is left. [Max Lucado LET THE JOURNEY BEGIN p. 71]

I don't want bitterness to grow. Been there, done that. So, we're working on this.... me and Jesus, we're working on this....

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