Have you been offended lately?
I mean aggravated, affronted, slighted, snubbed, insulted, betrayed, deceived, mislead, tricked, lied to, defrauded, duped, deluded, cheated, misinformed, let down or otherwise distressed, troubled, disturbed, displeased, disappointed, disconcerted or grieved by someone – perhaps someone with whom you have (or had) an important relationship – inside or outside church fellowship – a relative – even a partner?
First, the bad news:
you are not alone. Christians increasingly experience such attacks. And if your heart is open and you strive to love, you may actually be more susceptible not less: when attacked, you may feel worse. You don’t expect assault. You’re not used to blitz, not adapted, not immune, not accustomed -and therefore more vulnerable.
Now the good news:
if you admit to feeling hurt, not just angry but emotionally injured, then you may well be on the way to complete healing from emotional wounds. Actually, our first reaction to an offence, our natural response, is not grief or heartache. Rather it is anger, resentment, even fury. How dare they think they can hurt me! At this point I don’t admit feeling injured. I won’t give perpetrators the satisfaction of knowing they have power to wound me. I don’t admit my feelings even to myself – or to God!
Eventually, truth emerges:
I feel hurt, not just angry. Now I can turn to God and ask him to forgive me. When asking forgiveness, it becomes far easier to forgive. That’s the end point: forgiving those who hurt us.
Nobody lives in my head rent free.
To evict resentment from my head, I must forgive. In order to forgive, I must ask forgiveness. In order to ask forgiveness, I must turn to almighty God, my Maker. In order to turn to God, I must forsake anger. In order to forsake anger, I must take a break, take a breath, take stock, take time – and then pray, pray again, pray for real, and then be still and listen to my Lord. As I shift away from anger to hurt, and then to asking forgiveness, and finally to forgiving, God reveals His boundless love. My head-space clears and those brain-squatters get evicted. If they don’t leave immediately, I can boycott them; starve them by not feeding them with my reactions. After the squatters vacate my brain, I can begin to put myself in the other person’s shoes!
My real enemies turn out to be my own resentment, self-pity, fear and ego (easing God out). Recognising my real enemies, I can do God’s will in the difficult circumstance. I can facilitate a win-win result, I can help others, or act in my own best interest if that is called for. Importantly, I can do nothing at all when in fact God reveals that nothing will help. I need not act or react when anything I do might interfere with His almighty plans for me and them. He is running the show, not Charles!
Psalm 37: 5 He will bring it to pass.
Having trouble taking a breather? Can’t forsake anger?
In His time.
The Psalm reveals that it is not God’s way to blast, detonate, or vaporize like Terminator Two: zapping evildoers was my idea (and Hollywood’s) not God’s. God rarely zaps. Rather, He takes His time, causing the baddies to fade out, to blow away, (like “dry grass in the wind”) until now, in the finish, I “diligently seek their place but cannot find them!” And I hope I have finally learned His way is best!