How do you handle hurt?
- Do you take out your giant swatter and smash the ever-loving daylights out of it and then tuck the nasty remains in your back pocket until you’re the guest of honor at the next pity party?
- Do you grab it by the neck, shake it around a few times and then stuff it way down deep so no one will ever see?
- Maybe you’re the kind who likes to wear your hurt around your neck, so the whole world can see what a hard time you’ve had and how “strong” you are for enduring all the pain and misery.
- Maybe you let it hurt long enough to sift out what needs to be learned. Then, you open your heart just wide enough for others to watch God blow the rest away.
I Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” When we forgive we seem foolish to the world because worldly people don’t get it. They see forgiveness as weakness. In this stand-up-for-yourself, don’t-let-anybody-run-all-over-you world we live in, it’s honorable to strike back. An eye for an eye is the way to go. But, if Jesus had acted that way we would all be lost.
Five times in the book of Luke we find what The Message calls the Great Reversal. (Can you tell I’ve been in the book of Luke lately. :))
- Luke 13:30 “There are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
- Luke 14:11 and 18:13 “All those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
- Luke 17:33 “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.”
- Luke 22:26 “The greatest among you should be like the youngest and the one who rules like the one who serves.”
Sometimes, we have to do the opposite of how we feel. Not for the world, but for us. There is great freedom in forgiveness. If God’s business is forgiveness and we are His children, then maybe we should be in the family business. I don’t know anyone who has never done anything wrong. In fact, I feel a lot like Paul many times when he admitted to Timothy that he was the “worst of sinners”. But, he goes on to explain that he was shown mercy so that “Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life”. God is so patient with me because He loves me. He’s willing to forgive me of anything because He knows what I am becoming, not what I am.
My husband and I will be married 34 years on Sunday. My love for him is as strong as it’s ever been. Even in love, we still mess up. But, our willingness to forgive each other comes from recognizing the source and strength of our love. While we aren’t perfect, we see each other that way because God’s love is perfect. Having His love at our center helps us lay our hurts out on the table, keep what we need to learn and then let God blow the rest away. So, when I say God is good, it’s not just a trite saying. God is SO VERY good at this love thing! After all, He invented it!
We’ve got a beach trip coming up to celebrate our 34th, so if you hear from me next week it will be short and sweet. May you feel the gentle breath of God blow through your heart this week! Hang on to what He leaves behind! It’s all good!