Relationships. They aren’t always easy. At some point, specifically with deep, important ones, conflict will occur. And when it does, we have a choice to “peace out” or “push through.”
When my dad died, a lot of ugly bubbled to the surface.
Anger. Frustration. Resentment. Loneliness.
I was confused at why certain people were not showing up in ways I wanted them to. Rancid feelings festered, spewing over into every aspect of life and other relationships.
It was good ‘ol, “Drinking poison and hoping the other person dies” motto. It was expectations on steroids.
Am I alone? If you listen deeply to the corners of your soul, do you immediately recognize a person with whom hurt surrounds, and pain is associated?
You do? Welcome to humanity; it’s full of imperfect people.
Now, imagine that person’s face, or better yet, them sitting next to you, as we talk.
I understand they have hurt you. I understand there is wounding pain. Trust me, I am no stranger to lashing out what I mistook to be much-deserved anger. Impulsive words and a bitter heart only thicken and divide resolution.
Feeling your pain, and giving yourself permission to do so is one thing. Processing emotions with a safe person enables you to breathe fluttering thoughts into verbal meaning. My husband and I refer to this as “sitting in it.” We listen and offer objective space first, and words second.
And then comes the first choice: to stay in our hurt, or to move forward. It is here the “peace out” or “push through” option invites.
When hurt exists, do we wear a victim mentality, or do we venture toward love, forgiveness, and ultimately peace regardless if the other person deserves it? The truth is none of us deserve forgiveness or eternal life, yet Jesus gives it freely and wholly and non-evaluatively.
After all, isn’t it easy to love the lovable?
The Bible says, “If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.” – Matthew 5:47
But I don’t want to forgive, you cry. Do you know what they did to me? What they said? May I say, I’m so sorry. I feel your pain and wish I could offer my eyes and a sincere hug.
When hurt gets the best of me, my people-pleaser gets the best of me. Something must be wrong with me because I’ve pushed them away. Am I weird? Do I make others uncomfortable? How often do assumptions cloud reality? Shame settles thick, and chokes an abundant life God desperately desires to give.
Let us not cease asking God to bring to light areas we can grow, and apologize, and become more like Him. But please don’t buy shame or guilt. May I offer another consideration?
Perhaps the tension and pain you feel is not personal. Perhaps the actions, words, or lack of showing up from the person you may want to strangle from time to time has nothing to do with you. Perhaps they are overwhelmed with their circumstances, their insecurities, their lack of joy and it manifests in how they treat you. Have you considered that?
We know when it comes to sticky relationships, there are two sides. However, if we put ourselves in their shoes, compassion roots.
In my hurt funk, I reached a point I was over being sick to my stomach at the tension, awkwardness, and walls I’d been building. Hope rang and I answered. Yes, I nodded. Yes, I choose to shift my circumstantial, self-focus to an eternal, God-perspective. I choose to move toward love, forgiveness, and an abundant life.
When we love others, there is no space to criticize or resent them.
Here’s the fun part, the selfless, messy, push through even though you don’t feel like stepping toward them part: Jesus loves them just as much as He loves you. He offers you eternal love because He thinks you are a freakin’ rockstar, and enough simply as you are. If we abide in Him, His love will compel us to love others, especially where cracks and faulty foundations exist.
What if He wants to use you to tangibly pursue them as a reflection of His grace?
What if their walls are high, and God is choosing your crummy, challenging relationship to woo them toward unconditional love and forgiveness?
What if your pain is necessary because it forces you to depend on Him to love the unlovable?
Loving the unlovable is how Jesus does.
What if today is the day you can set aside your hurt, and choose to see that person through His eyes? What if He’s urging you to begin the conversation, as He transforms pain into peace, and hurt into life? An abundant, love-overflowing life.
What do you have to lose? You’ve been imagining them beside you for some time, and now the choice rests with you. Do you wish to “peace out” or “push through?”
I, for one, am walking alongside “push through.” And I’m happy to pray for you along the way.