"What you did really hurt me. You've disappointed me. I can't do this anymore." Jason's words stung Nicole deeply. In her state of pain, she had lashed out at Jason, saying things to him that she wished she could take back. It was too late now. She felt overwhelming guilt, and his words echoed the voice in her head that told her what she truly believed - she had failed again. She would never be loved because she was too much too handle. Something was wrong with her.
Recently I witnessed a difficult situation between two people. Two people were left very hurt. As an outsider to the situation, it was easy for me to have compassion for both parties. I could relate to the girl, regretting things she had said, and I could relate to the guy, who was hurt by words that cut deep. Relational wounds are some of the hardest to heal from because when we are so intensely vulnerable, it feels near impossible to let go of the past. The "what if I hadn't done that?" or "what if I didn't say those things" can replay in our minds as we tell ourselves the circumstances would've been different if only we had been different. Regret forms and we can fall into anxiety or even depression.
Intimacy is scary. To let someone in, to let someone see the good and the bad...I find it terrifying. Letting someone see you and know you, only to reject you, is one of the most painful things we can experience. God's commandment to love one another feels virtually impossible sometimes, yet, I have been in situations where I've loved someone who has fallen out of love with me. After that relationship, I determined being vulnerable was not what I wanted for my life. I didn't want anyone to 'have control' of my emotions.
When we experience loss, we go into self-protective mode. We'll have relationships with people we know won't last, because it's safe. We won't open up to people who we actually really like, because it's safe. We choose to say we don't want to be with someone because, well, it's safe. Commitment means that one of us will get hurt...this is the lie I told myself for a long time. It was safe.
Jesus died on the cross after he was put to death by people who he actually loved. The way I see it, the devil used a tactic he thought was so smart. He manipulated those whom Jesus loved to target him as the enemy and have him killed. Jesus didn't argue. Jesus didn't have anyone defend him. He just told the truth over and over again. The key here is that the devil actually made Jesus' triumphant plan come true. What was that plan?
Because of the devil, Jesus died, and because of who Jesus was, He rose. When He rose, he gave us the promised Holy Spirit, giving us eternal relationship with Him that could never ever be taken away. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can take away God's spirit in you or I, because we have chosen to believe. This is faith, and it's the ultimate mic drop.
The devil loves to sneak around and cause turmoil, regret, chaos, and defeat. He loves to find your weak places and press and push on them.
He knows who you are when you don't even know who you are.
But, God always has a plan. He has lots of things up his sleeve. His plan and purpose of reconciliation means there is nothing He can't work together for good. There is no relationship too far gone He cannot heal. There is no wound He cannot cover. There is no end He cannot turn into something beautiful.
Forgiveness is the key to relational healing. I've screwed up many times in my life, and I've hurt people. I've done so in the name of justice, and I've done so from a place of woundedness. Each time, God has shown me the level of forgiveness I'm worthy of. Slowly but surely I'm learning. The gift of compassion goes a long way, and we need to offer it to others and to ourselves.
Is there a relationship in your life you wish was different? Believe that no matter what, God works all things together for good. Believe in His ability to use everything you've done and make it into a story worth loving. Have compassion on yourself and on each other.
Jesus renamed Simon, "Cephas", which means "Peter the rock". After that moment, you would think Peter was this stable noble hero. He was actually an emotional and fearful guy who denied believing in Jesus and was kind of all over the place. What does this tell us?
Jesus calls you by name knowing you're going to screw up.
He doesn't call you righteous and worthy of love because you're going to act perfectly righteous. He calls you that because regardless of your actions, this is who you are. When you believe it, your actions will change. This is the process of growth.
Take a moment and ask God, who do you say I am? Write down what He says, and never forget it.