I found these thoughts scribbled in a mini journal that I purchased at Walmart years ago. I used to carry it in my purse, so there are blog ideas, grocery lists, sermon notes, and all manner of a writer's odds and ends stored between the fake moleskin covers. I think these particular musings are from 2006 or 2007. I'm not totally sure what I think about them now. . .
The Reality of Redemption
The stuff that hurts me--those people whose actions are the beginnings of my pain--
Do I allow God to heal [my heart towards] those people, to change those circumstances, to transform those relationships?
I think one of the biggest lies the enemy feeds us--and we swallow it whole--is that people who have been "toxic" for us can never be "safe." So we get stuck in our "They did this to me, and I've forgiven them, but I don't want them to hurt me like that again, so I'll just hold them at a distance, thank you very much."
We stick them in a box labeled, "That hurts. Don't go there," and we don't allow [for] the possibility that God can/wants to/will change them.
Don't we think He's that big? Isn't He able? willing?
After all, how much He has transformed me and the way I view/negotiate life.
And I don't [won't?] extend that grace and mercy to others.
Anger means I don't want to love similar abusive personalities.
[Then lines from the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch:]
Bleakley: Tricky fish! Tricky fish!
It's tricky, when you're trying to walk out of old destructive patterns and into healthy godly life-giving places, but the person you're in relationship with, the one who's hurt you so very badly, still walks in those destructive patterns. How do we stay safe, yet still love them? How do we love them when we don't trust them?
The easy answer is to break relationship with them.
I'm not sure that's Jesus' answer.
I think about the apostle Paul, who started out as Saul, the Christian killer. After Jesus called Saul out on the road to Damascus, and wrought a complete heart change in the former church ravager, Saul has much trust to earn. Jesus Himself goes to Ananias, telling him, "Go see a man from Tarsus, named Saul. . ."
Well, everyone in the early Church knew the name Saul. Acts 8 tells how Saul went from house to house, dragging out men and women--Christ followers--and throwing them in jail. That was after Saul oversaw the stoning murder of Stephen. Then Jesus speaks into Saul's life, and he becomes the great missionary to the Gentiles.
The disciples in Damascus took Saul in. Can you imagine the scene? Ananias probably went in first, saying, "Umm, guys, listen: you're not going to believe who Jesus has chosen now. . ." When Saul tried to hang out with the disciples in Jerusalem, they were all afraid of him until Barnabus vouched for him.
It was this same Saul who wrote, as Paul, how being in Christ makes us new creatures. All the old things have passed away, and now all things are new and from God, who reconciles us to Himself through Jesus, and then hands us this "ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you, on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:17-20).
This word of reconciliation which God has given us--how in the world do we speak it over those who have hurt us so very deeply? over those who continue to hurt us? over those who are a danger to our very lives?
What does that even look like?