I have a heaviness in my spirit today. I usually do not add a preface to my articles – but today I really feel that this is for somebody out there. Someone who has felt condemnation and judgment from others. I trust that this will help you today – this is for you.
I’ve always been fascinated by reactions of people when given a certain situation to navigate through.
Everyone responds differently. It is not wrong to respond differently – it is just that we can’t all be put into a ‘box’ and be expected to look at things in the same way. Although – that is exactly what we do. Expect people to look at things the right way – our way.
My husband used to use an illustration in some of his messages. He would talk to Christian people and explain how the Holy Spirit can cause a reaction in our lives much like someone touching a live wire. Here are a few ways people may respond:
1. Jumping up and down, screaming and shouting and holding onto their hand that was hurt.
2. Some might feel something but then deny they even felt it.
3. Others may feel a tingle and say ‘ouch’.
In the same way when something touches our life – especially the negative painful things – we have a few different ways to react to it:
1. We jump around, scream and shout and coddle our hurt heart.
2. We say, ‘You hurt me ‘ And never move on.
3. We say, ‘ouch’ – and move on – and never touch that painful thing again.
I’ve seen this – and I’ve lived it. Even after doing everything to ‘bare my soul’ so to speak – and to do the right thing after something negative – sometimes the reaction from another person is still negative. There are always going to be those in life that choose to see others in a negative light – even when we are all fallen, sinful creatures – and can hardly hope to redeem ourselves by casting the first stone. I suppose people do this because it makes them feel better – but I’ve never understood it.
And I am well aware that people see things and events differently too. And like the above – they are as varied in reaction as the people who react. There have been those people in my own life who are quick to point fingers at me and tell me how sinful, terrible and unrepentant I am. Never knowing the hard long journey that I have taken in efforts to keep my own heart right before God. And the long soul-searching spent in much prayer asking God’s forgiveness and direction. I’m sure we all have people like that in our lives. I sure have in mine. Those who would try to muzzle me from telling things in my own words – or those that even have the audacity to tell me how I feel – and more horrible than that – not only how I feel (or felt) – but they love to paint and dark and scary picture of what could have happened – based on nothing but speculation and supposition. It’s insane – and only God has the inside track to who I am – what I’m thinking and just what my motives are for thinking or doing them. Again these are reactions to their own pain, hurt, confusion and frustration. And I can only pray for them and feel sorry.
My husband knows more than anybody how I have wrestled with criticism – founded and unfounded by those who at one time were my friends. And how I have done the long hard work of keeping my heart clean from resentment from those who would still judge me without really knowing me and try to hold me hostage for my past mistakes. I am guilty as charged. I’m graciously forgiven by my Lord and Saviour. I have had to be broken before God to make sure that everything is right inside of me. And I learned something. Even when you do this – even when everything is forgiven and covered by God – there are those that still will not believe it. And never will. Therefore the only reaction that I really care about is God’s reaction to me – and God’s alone.
There is such amazing freedom in this – He loves me. He forgives my many mistakes. He has covered all the sin in my life as He promises to do. He is gracious and full of mercy – and does not react in a bad way – making me pay somehow. Nor does he remind me of the past – and just how sinful and terrible I am. I am then free to love you – with no apprehension – with no hidden agenda – just pure motive of wanting a right relationship – insomuch as is in my power to do so.
And those that continue to react badly – those are the people you feel sorry for – assign them an ‘outer orbit’ and you cut them loose – hoping and praying that others will be kinder to them – then they have shown kindness. And that they will someday learn that it’s just not worth it to point the finger of blame. And much better to just let it go and forgive – especially themselves.
I am praying for you