Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Been betrayed lately?

So, how about it? Is there anyone out there who has ever done a kind deed for someone, only to have them throw it back in your face? How'd it feel? Hurt, didn't it? The more we love said person, the greater the hurt is. We can even categorize our hurts into 'little' hurts and those huge wrenching heartbreaks that seem to last for years.

It was a pleasant reminder, knowing I'm not alone. Just got through talking with a cousin of a friend of mine, each sharing how hurt we've been by a loved one. Now mind you, neither of us expected to win the Nobel Peace Prize for our kind deed, but seriously? To be stabbed in the back as a consequence?

Years ago, there was such a hurt in my life that totally blindsided me. 1) Being what I coined a "super christian", I was totally shocked when this "super Christian" behaved in an extremely unkind manner towards me. 2) My mistake of course, was putting anyone on the pedestal to begin with. When we look 'up' to anyone other than Jesus Christ, we're setting ourselves up for hurt.

I was determined, however, to pull myself up by my bootstraps and continue on. Little did I realize what lie in store from me, in God's classroom. The reason, you see, that I was hurt, was because my dependency was on this 'super christian' and his opinions, thoughts and approval. Had my dependency been on God to begin with, my heart would have never been broken. I assure you, God is not in the heartbreaking business. Whenever we are rejected, despised, or otherwise treated in a manner we don't like, we have two options: Waller in self pity at not being treated the way we should have been treated, or turn our eyes upon Jesus, letting the things of this world grow dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

Building a wall high and thick around my heart seemed to be the thing to do. After all, if people couldn't get in, I couldn't get hurt, right? Seems logical. So, while I set about building that wall, brick by brick, my emotions started settling down some. I was getting some distance between the heartache and myself, and although I thought about it constantly, How dare he call himself a Christian!... God, is there something to be learned from this?  Will he ever admit his wrong doing? Will there ever be a reconciliation? Well, this incident happened almost 10 years ago. There has been no reconciliation, no admittance of wrong doing, but there has been forgiveness. For years this heartbreak was ignored, except for the few occasions that memories would surface with no warning, and the tears overflowed again. You see, there was a reason that wall kept springing leaks. Simply put, it was built by the frailness of the human heart.

So what should we do, instead? Paul gave the Philippians some good advice:

 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

See, Paul says, instead of us building walls, we simply put our hearts into God's hands. It's his peace that guards our hearts, not our walls. It's hard to not dwell on the things that aren't quite pure, lovely, admirable, but Paul tells us to put that into practice--the thinking about pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Of course, who do we know that fits that bill? None other than Jesus Christ Himself! He is our protector, He is our Guardian, our LIFE! Our walls that we build up aren't infallible. Especially as Children of God.

According to Scripture,  only thing that counts:

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6b
If this is true, then there is no way the wall is going to hold in the love of God that flows from us when we least expect it. As children of God, we can't help but to let God's love flow from us. When we're not focused on our heartaches, it's as natural as breathing, when God starts working His will in our lives. So, when God's love flows out--that's going to leave several holes in the wall we've built. Those holes stay, and then when the flesh takes over, the heartaches slip in. It's one of the battles we have to fight while in this flesh, but the good news is, God is totally aware of that. Now mind you, you and the ones that have hurt you may never become bosom buddies, but trusting in God, I guarantee you that forgiveness will eventually come forth. Oh, don't worry, it won't come overnight. I remember my heartache. In order to be able to get through this, I held my head up high, determined that the fault all lay in the offending party. I could create list after list of this wrongdoing, and just to convince myself I wasn't simply trying to find fault, I'd put a couple of points on my own list, as well. I felt justified in my hurt, my anger, and my victimitus. Imagine my irritation when God started working on my heart to forgive them. Me? Forgive THEM?? They'd not admitted their wrong doing, they felt no remorse over the pain they caused, had no interest in making things right. It was their  fault!  Why should I be the one to give in first? Even in private. Of course, being the "good Christian" that I was, I told myself I forgave them. What I really did was go kicking and screaming to the prayer closet as I prayed for them, and did what I 'knew' to do. If I were honest, it took several years after the first initial "I forgive you" before I really forgave them. It was also revealed to me, that in and of myself, I couldn't forgive. It had to be brought about by the love of God. God had a huge work to do in my heart to be able to forgive.

I've found, that the closer God grows me to Him, the less the heartaches hurt. Oh, they're still there, make no mistake--different hurts throughout life's highway. But, the more God draws me into dependency on Him, the heartaches can become more like a little twitch in the heart, unlike when my dependency on God only surfaced when I had a 'need'.

So, if you've gotten your heart broken just one time too many, ask yourself where your dependency is, the approval of others? Or the approval of God? If you find yourself depending on the approval of others a bit more strongly than you should, I would encourage you to ask God to renew your mind, and to teach you to depend on Him. The choice is yours.

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