Over the years I have continually run into the problem of my broken heart. I won’t deny that my own sin has contributed to my heart wounds. But that is not what this post is about. I have spent plenty of time and effort testifying to my own sin and as a result God has washed me with waves of healing. He is merciful.
What I want to discuss is how God has helped me address the pain other people have caused me. My heart has been pierced by many people in my lifetime. I have done all kinds of things to deal with my heartache and still the battle rages on. As time passes I feel less pain from traumatic experiences, but for a long time I wrestled with the same old wound resurfacing. Inevitably, something will come up that triggers memories of the original trauma and in a heartbeat I am right back in the victims quarters. It’s a terrible feeling when something threatens to break open an old wound. I get irritated when I’ve forgiven an offense, taken steps to move past an issue, and it rears its ugly head.
I’ve had to ask myself and God,
“Why? Why am having I having to deal with this all over again?”
The book of Ecclesiastes says that there is a time for everything under the sun and that includes a time to heal. I’m so thankful that I can count on God. He has appointed a time to heal me. Sometimes the hurt that keeps rising up is God. He has to reach into my heart and remove all that doesn’t belong there.
I have gone through seasons of desperately trying to medicate my pain. As well as the genuine effort to “fix” myself. I’ve tried ignoring my pain, and unfortunately, I’ve developed quite a tolerance. Pain must eventually be confronted. Confrontation is a little bit like working out. I don’t like confrontation, but I can do it. I don’t want to do it, but I know I have to. A broken heart must be addressed. If I don’t do it or can’t do it, I can count on God to address it.
“Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.” Ecclesiastes 3:15
I have some safe people in my life. These safe people are approachable, they don’t spew toxic poison when I bring up a problem in the relationship. In those relationships I have been able to successfully engage in healthy conversations that get to the root of an issue. Although these conversations can be difficult and even uncomfortable, they are ultimately very rewarding. Having these conversations has proven in my experience to lessen the distance between me and whomever I’ve had a conflict with. Having a difficult conversation with a safe person can and most often brings a new level of intimacy and can even resolve a matter entirely.
As a believer in Jesus, I am called to forgive any and all people who offend me. Reconciliation on the other hand requires the person I forgave to do something. I have no control over this other person. I can only do my part. I’ve forgiven people who are no longer in my life, not because I had to but for my own healing. Some of the people I’ve forgiven have died and there is no opportunity for reconciliation. Then there is this other group of people who are toxic. Toxic people are proud and arrogant. They never admit when they are wrong. They are not approachable and will avoid working on problems. Toxic people shame and blame, instead of owning their owning their part. Also, toxic people will lie to you when telling the truth is hard.
I’m getting better at forgiving the toxic people and keeping myself safe. I try my best to forgive those toxic people and leave that time bomb and all the shrapnel that goes with it in God’s hands. It’s incredible, but I’ve had to learn to stay away from unsafe people.
Henry Cloud wrote in a post, Time Actually Doesn’t Heal All Wounds
“If someone breaks your heart, and you don’t do anything to address the emotional trauma that person has created within you, sure, over time, you might not think about it as much. But it will never be too far from the surface. Those emotional wounds will be ready to rip right open again at the slightest suggestion of any kind of similar trouble.”
I used to believe that pain rising up again was because I hadn’t fully forgiven. It seemed I could only get so far and I was never completely healed. The wall that I kept running into was not my need to forgive. The wall I have repeatedly run into has been the hard, unrepentant heart of an offender.
Rebuke a mocker and they will hate you. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. Too bad for me I didn’t learn it the first time. I have received verbal beatings as well as physical. Silence doesn’t necessarily mean that I agree with a person. Sometimes it means that I know raising my opinion, however gentle I may be, is not safe.
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, Proverbs22:24
One day when I was running into the same old wall, feeling that familiar ache in my heart, it hit me. A light went on and everything became so clear. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was in fact right and the offender was in fact wrong. I also knew that my only hope for justice and healing would have to come from God.
Not all people are safe. I know God wants me to try to reconcile with other people, but try as I might there are times when this just can’t happen.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14
When it is obvious that I am getting a child’s response from someone who looks like an adult, I try to retreat. “The wise person sees danger and takes precautions, the fool keeps on going and suffers for it.” Proverbs 27:12 Sure, I have to be humble and that is hard, especially when I feel I’ve been wronged. It takes strength to forgive a person who isn’t even sorry. I know God can handle the situation. He lifts up the humble and He brings the prideful down low.
““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”” Matthew 11:28-30