The Lord spoke to me about 3 years ago. He told me that what I was about to experience, many, many, many others would experience. He said, but I will be closer to you than anyone else. I thought, I had heard wrong. Me? Why would you be closer to me? Lord, do you know me? If there is anyone you would want to be close to, you got the wrong guy. Of course adding my own list of sins, and failures. I have really not believed that for the last 3 years.
I have experienced a lot of pain in the last couple of years. A lot of rejection, loss of respect from others and even myself. It has been a tough road. I have cowered at times back into my introverted shell, because it is safe in there. No one can touch me, not even God. Like a turtle shell, I have come out when I was good and ready, or just stayed in my shell. Though, it is lonely in my shell, and dark, and I only hear my own voice. I have realized more and more that I am super judgmental, have no grace, or mercy for people, that includes myself.
In weeks past, I have been learning to forgive again. Its not that I have never learned before, it is just, another season of letting go of things from the past, and truly forgiving. It has been extremely hard, and it is a work in process. If I think about things long enough, I can get upset all over again. If I think of ways I have failed long enough, I will succeed in becoming depressed again. So, I have been really trying to forgive, others and myself.
The world can be cruel. You can do everything right, yet still be nailed to a cross. You can give your life up for the sake of others and those same people will nearly beat you to death in appreciation. At the heart of it all, is pain. The cliche “hurt people, hurt people.” if I am hurting, I am going to hurt you, once I hurt you, you hurt someone else. It is an endless cycle. It all ends when someone finally says, “enough!”. Well, that person isn’t me, unless, you look at how I have done it all wrong. I have said enough and gone back into my turtle shell. The problem, with that way, is I have only hurt myself. I’m still hurt, but with no one around, I can only hurt myself. If I have ever been successful at anything, it has been beating myself up, more than anyone else ever has. Others have come close, but nearly as bad as self torture.
Laying on the bed just thinking, I was recounting all the rejection, the pain, considering if things could have been any other way, and I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit overwhelm me. I was taken back to the scripture of Jesus’ being arrested, having all of His friends walk away and deny having anything to do with Him. I remembered, Jesus, He has experienced way worse than me. He was hurt way worse, physically, emotionally, even spiritually, yet He didn’t respond with malice, or self-protection. His arms were open as His hands were nailed to the cross, and knew that in His pain, that others would experience freedom from pain. He accepted all of the pain of the world to prove that hurt people, don’t always have to hurt people. His example for us is to open our arms, it may be painful. It may even cause us to die, but there is good news. Jesus, didn’t stay dead, He rose again. If I can learn to die, allow the pain to help me die to my self. Maybe, if I am lucky, Jesus can live again in me.
I am glad that Jesus came here to free us from pain, whatever forms that may take. I hope, I can learn how to interact with Him also as a friend that sticks closer than a brother. My heart is always for redemption, and restoration. I unfortunately, have seen very little in my life, in the relationships around me, even in the church. As the Gospel is watered down, in many churches, the message of Truth, is becoming the same. Redemption and restoration is the story that the world hopes for, but doesn’t believe is possible. If only the church could be the example. If so, there will need to be more open hands nailed to the crosses of self.
It is still hard for me to believe, and have faith in what I was told 3 years ago. As much as I try to die to that voice in my head, condemning me, he is always trying to speak to me too. I hope that voice will be overshadowed by one of hope, restoration and redemption. If I am lucky, I can see those same things played out in the world around me. I can feel a new season approaching, and my heart is excited for it.
1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery…13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Be free from pain friends,