Several days ago I received a hurtful email. (for the sake of clarity, the email came from someone I’ll call Jane) I guess I kind of asked for it. Jane wrote in response to my request for honest feedback to my blog. It is true, I really wanted to know how it was being received. Really!
Really is a frequently used word in our family. Spoken to the towel on the bathroom floor, again… REALLY?! Gestured to the bad driver who just cut you off, REALLY? Said to the hospital’s incorrect bill, REALLY?! The word really is most effective when used with an extra measure of disdain.
Without going into all of the detail, Jane wondered why she was compelled to read my blog because “most days she wants to scream” due to my complaining. She went on to describe her life of sadness and misery and tells me that she prayed for a miracle too, but didn’t get hers. The excerpt that I’ve been unable to shake… “you wanted a miracle and you got it and now you’re not happy with it” Reading it, honestly, took my breath away. And a “REALLY!?” seemed completely insufficient.
Count to 10
The old Debbie would have hit reply within seconds. I counted to 10, prayed for the writer and for grace and wisdom. With care, I typed what I thought was an appropriate and gracious reply. I even ran it by Doug before I hit send. That should be it. Move on.
I’ve tried to … I’ve had many distractions with a family wedding and now some wonderful Scottish house guests. But her words have lingered. I’m not exactly sure why.
The log in my eye
Today I read a blog of a well known, popular author who has published over 10 books. She offered a sneak peak to pre order her latest book; inspired by what she refers to as her season of hardship. Intrigued, I dug a little deeper. Her 11 yr old daughter broke her arm and wouldn’t be able to compete as a gymnast anymore. I have not read the entire book, but that was the preamble to her family’s hardship. I found myself saying REALLY?!
How dare I
The timing of the blog was curious and clearly facilitated by God. In that instant, as if He used a two by four to my head, God dislodged some desperately needed clarity… How dare I? With little thought, I was judging the pain and circumstances of someone else. Apparently, the voice in my head whispers, I’m the self appointed judge to all pain and suffering. I am being a bit facetious. But with some new awareness, my heart has softened for Jane. She has had to endure a lot. And I cannot imagine.
To state the obvious…. PAIN IS PAIN. To judge another’s DEGREE of pain serves no purpose. And to compare my pain to your pain serves no purpose. Frankly, in spite of sincere effort, understanding another’s pain is impossible. We can try to identify, empathize and understand, but our efforts are inadequate. Only God can FULLY understand. I am certain God knows and understands Jane’s pain. Still, and most importantly, in the midst of pain and suffering (big or little) God can be present, but so can Satan.
Hurt people, Hurt people
Consider this truth… hurt people, hurt people. If you’re human, I suspect you can relate. I know I am guilty of causing this truth. I am hurt, and then, with no effort at all, I project my hurt to an unsuspecting loved one. With a sharp tongue or an inpatient gesture, I’ve nurtured satan’s playground. Satan has a big advantage. The time it takes to heal always takes longer than the initial hurt. Conditions become ideal for sustained and progressive hurt. And just like that, Satan settles in and gets comfy.
Love, the effective weapon
Convicted and with heightened sensitivity, I have been praying for Jane. Instead of acting on my hurt, my weapon of choice is LOVE. Would you join me? Would you pray for Jane too? Let’s flood her with prayers and blindside her with love and grace. ray for her peace and comfort. Pray that the Lord would be especially near and she would feel His love for her. God knows Jane very well and will translate our prayers perfectly. Love is a powerful weapon. And LOVE’s aim is perfect. REALLY!