Monday, April 30, 2012

loving enemies and letting go.

this week i was counting down the days and minutes til i was able to go my church on sunday morning. but late saturday night i was invited to go to the church i went to last week by one of my new friends who works at starbucks. ive been talking to char about trying to live my life fully and one of the things she told me she was doing was trying to never turn down an invite.

so yesterday morning i woke up early, listened to iron & wine as i got ready, and took the short walk down the street to where my friend lives. within a few minutes we hopped in his truck and took off to church. the starbucks he works at is in the same parking lot that we were going to so we drank coffee and i sat and listened as him and two of his friends that met us there talked and discussed what they had been learning and reading in the bible this past week. one thing that took me by surprise was hearing these three men talk about God. it was refreshing and like a breath of fresh air to hear men talk about God in such an intimate way.

when it was time for us to leave we walked over to church and enjoyed the florida sunshine. i made small talk with one of the guys and was happy to be around such encouraging people. church ended up being much better this week and they even played a few of my favorite worship songs. i was very content with life.

the message was on matthew 5:43-44
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

growing up in church i had heard this sermon and this bible verse countless times. but for some reason this time it really, really got to me. the pastor talked about enemies and being hurt. and at that moment a movie reel of heart breaks, harsh words, and every hurt i have ever felt broke all over me. my heart felt every single pain at once and i literally gasped for air. i usually am a very forgiving person, sometimes too forgiving, but i realized there are things im not willing to give up yet. pains i have been holding onto for years. wrongs people have done to me. names i have been called. but mostly, guys who have taken advantage of my heart. i realized that not only do i hate these people but i have become dependent on being angry at them to numb my pain. a friend once told me that anger is usually covering up pain. its easier to mask and to protect yourself from those sensitive spots. but all at once years of pain ive hidden from hit me like a ton of bricks. i started thinking, "how on earth  could i love these people who have hurt me so much? why should i pray for them? doesn't God understand how badly i have been wounded?"

and while i was holding back tears and dwelling on the unjustness of it all another realization hit me hard. im just as bad as all the people who have hurt me. honestly, i am a million times worse. ive hurt people too. ive made people i love cry. but the person i have hurt the most, the one who's heart i have broken a million time over and over still loves me. and not only does He love me but He suffered the worst pain imaginable for me. He died for me despite how much ive wronged Him. this isn't a new concept i have learned but it really crushed me yesterday. i think of the people in my life who have hurt me deeply and there is no way in a million years that i would risk anything for them; especially my life. but the worst part is not only did He die for me but He continues to love me every day even though i still continue to break His heart.

i cant imagine the way He felt. i know how badly my heart has hurt. how angry ive been. the things i have said in my pain.

yet in the midst of Jesus being murdered and tortured to death for everyone, for me, He cried out, "Father forgive them". He asked for forgiveness for our wrongs. For my lies, my sins, my wrongs. He took the pain physically and emotionally and yet He still asked for forgiveness. He wasn't angry or mad. His heart was broken and so full of love for His people that He was willing to carry it all. that is love. that is perfect, divine love. and something i hope one day i can try to live out in my own life.
sadly, there will always be another person who is going to hurt you. just like you will hurt those you love. but the focus shouldn't be on the should be on the love. i know that's something that doesn't just happen. its going to take years and years of forgiveness and asking for God to guard and strengthen your heart.

but i know that i got a reality check yesterday. and i think its time that i really take a look inside my heart and start working through all the pain ive held hostage. because holding onto my anger doesn't make me any better of a person than those who have hurt me. all i am doing is hurting myself.

i know these thoughts are really jumbled but i just really wanted to get these down.
love you all<3

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