Tuesday, December 25, 2012

dealing with mistreatment

Each of us face times where we have been mistreated and hurt.  Sometimes these incidents are by people we absolutely love, whom we consider very close friends, people we have spent lots of time with and think the world of.  

The hurt in these situations can be grievous beyond words.  It can depress you.  Cause pain that nearly makes you physically sick.  It many times takes the life right out of you and make you feel like you can't breath, totally suffocating without any replenishment of air.  It can cause you to loose focus and faith in your friendship.  It can cause you to question the foundation of your friendship and the authentic love previously expressed by this person.  It can cause you to doubt the very existence of your friendship.  It can cause you to not trust that God will work it for good even though they mean it for evil.  

I have been through times of like this before with friends and am facing it again, but this time with people who have been role models to me, people who have been there for me in very difficult times of my life, people who I thought loved [me] unconditionally.  People who have been Johnny's in my life [from the movie Seven Days in Utopia - which I will share more thoughts on at another time].  

It has been several weeks and the pain is not letting up.  The ongoing fakeness in a relationship that used to be totally real and open is making it hard to not just scream out, "Why are you doing this to me?".  The fact that I bore my heart out in an email trying to make amends and clear up a matter only to have it be ignored and not to receive any response, grieves my soul.  Even if the email could not have been accepted, even if there still is a difference of opinion, could it not be acknowledged?  The fact that I continue to try to have normal correspondence and interaction of a relationship as if this issue doesn't exist or has been resolved when it clearly hasn't, is in itself truly exhausting.  The communication lacks the exhuberation back and doesn't contain the typical generous loving thoughts expressed in a prompt reply, many times with excuses as to why no response was given, if any response at all, and only continues to show me that the relationship I thought I had because I was loved and cared for, truly was/is only really one based off of contingencies.  This is in a nutshell is what hurts the most.  

Now I question, is this what all my friendships and relationships that I have known are or will be like at some point?  Do people really not know how to love as God asks us to love?  Love as He loves us.  Clearly, this relationship doesn't exist now that we don't see a situation on the same page and now that that person has been hurt won't accept my side of the story.  The deeper hurt even beyond this is the fact that it is with someone I never dreamed I would be facing this type of situation with and therefore it is doubly hurtful.  I thought I was loved for being me.

I have asked other close friends to pray for me, to help me be understanding, to pray that I will continue to be loving as God wants me to be to them in spite of how I have been treated and the daily slap in the face this is to me.  I have shared that my hurt is deep and it makes me want to run, run away quickly.  It makes me want to close my heart and shut out friendships because of the pain they always bring.  The pain is simply gut wrenching.  But I know deep down, none of these feelings are feelings God wants me to have.  I won't tell you for one second that I have it all figured out.  I won't tell you that I don't shed tears in my pillow as I work through the pain.  But I will tell you this, God still loves me and He still cares for me even if this persons love is obviously conditional.  He is with me in this pain.  

I will tell you clearly that I don't want conditional friendships.  I don't want to have to constantly be approved of to have your love and friendship.  If that's the way it works with you, I don't want your friendship.  I lived in that box for 20 years and never got that approval and love from my parents because of the conditions that were always placed on it.  I have spent the last 15 years trying to understand and play those games in fellowship with a group of Christians that love you if you meet the spoken and unspoken criteria, check off all the boxes, give in all the ways deemed appropriate, say and do all the "right things", and attend every function...then and only then will you be approved of.  The minute you don't keep up this agenda, you step out away from the "rules", then you are questioned, your motives are not deemed pure, you are condemned for making decisions contrary to the mainstream thinking, you are treated coldly because you don't come "regularly", and you are suddenly considered to be struggling and potentially going off the deep end.  

Is this how God wants us to be with each other?  No, he wants us to LOVE out of a pure heart, not one with motives or an agenda.  Is this how God treats us, conditionally?  No, He loves you no matter what you have done or will do because it is already all paid for.  You can't outdo God.  He does not condemn you if you don't read your bible 7 times a day and he won't be cold when he see's you if you didn't.  Will God question your motives if you don't give so much of your time, energy, money, and other resources?  No, He honored the woman who gave all she had, which was not very much, but it was all.  Please don't mistake me, we need principals and guidelines, but is the basis of them for approval and judgement, or because it is out of love?

I want to learn what loving unconditionally is [I don't believe I was taught this and I believe it is something you learn to do when you understand what God's love is] and I want to show that love to everyone I come in contact with [because I want to be a light for Him].

I pray that I can grow in more grace and knowledge of God and His Love.  I pray that I can set aside my hurt and continue to Love.

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