“This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” John 11:4
Ady recently shared this with me. It is something he talked with his church about in Constanta a few weeks ago. We discussed this topic together for probably an hour or so when we talked yesterday.
Anyway, this is important – and it is about how God makes people tick and how God likes people to get along with each other and deal with hard situations. What is key to me here is that this way of sorting out our fall-outs prevents victimization, fatalism, depression, and rationalization – all absolutely debilitating conditions.
1. Admit that it hurts. And that it might make me angry, too. And that it makes me worry, fret, despondent, and fume. It hurts bad – it is hurting so bad that it makes me someone that I know I should not be and that I don’t want to be. Hurt left unattended can kill – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Not dealing with hurt is the end. But recognizing hurt for what it is – dangerous and consuming – and then wanting to do something about the hurt is a positive action that is extremely empowering – I’m no longer a slave to someone else.
2. Give up my rights. Give up my claims. All of them – with no conditions. I will harbor no grudges or expectations of anyone. It is over. There aren’t any lingering lists, unpaid IOUs, or open threats that will come back and be thrown out on the table at some future date or in some future circumstance. There is not any debt left to be paid or collected – it is a clean slate. It’s like it never happened or existed.
3. Look for some good in the offending person. This is an intense exercise and effort to reset my perspective and attitude. This is all about walking in their shoes, turning the other cheek, hiking the extra mile, refocusing, re-prioritizing. This step takes a huge amount of energy and it takes commitment and selflessness. In a broken world, we all need to recognize that there is always something at the root – at the core and center – for anything and everything that happens. Being sensitive to a cause may not make something right, but it gives me perspective. And instead of using an offense as a crutch, I can learn and try to not let it happen again. I also will learn to be sympathetic and empathetic. And besides, the other person may be hurting. Maybe they need some love and care and attention.
4. Desire good things for the other person. My hope and prayer for the other person should not be vengeance and pain, but for healing and blessings. Instead of wanting more hurt in the world, I should desire that there be more care and tolerance. And this starts with me and my feelings toward the one who hurt me or who I hurt.
5. Renew the relationship. An open and obvious effort should be made with the one who hurt me to make amends. Engagement and words. Conversation and exchange. This may be the hardest step of all – the other steps can be done in my own heart and mind. This step, however, is about confronting my antagonist and attempting to make things right. It may not all end up being like it was before, but clearing this hurdle can leave the wound clean and open and ready for healing instead of the wound remaining full of pus, gangrene, and infection. Any effort toward renewal probably will require some boundaries and baby-steps, but that’s ok. It’s a start.
The thing here is that if I am consumed with anger and hurt that I think has been brought on by someone else, then I will have less energy and space and time to be consumed by and with God and his eternity. I won’t be investing my time in being able to see the beauty and magnificence of God’s creation – instead, I will be spending and investing my time in seeing the darkness and underbelly of Satan’s world. Is this really where I want to be spending my time – anger, hate, vengeance, hurt, gossip, brokenness, filth, anxiety, angst, shame, retribution, greed, selfishness?
Of course not, but to free ourselves from evil we must reconcile our personal relationships in a way that enables us to be wrapped in God’s mysterious and eternal goodness.
My time with Ady every week is encouraging, edifying, sometimes challenging, and always special. Thanks, Ady, for your thoughts and care.
Let’s pursue what is good – together.