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Honest to God

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I love children’s books. That may surprise you, but if you know me very well it probably won’t. One of my favorite authors is Roald Dahl. Now, if you’re unfamiliar with his work, you’ve undoubtedly seen some of the movies based on his work: James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang, The BFG and (my favorite) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. In the 1971 movie featuring Willy Wonka, Grandpa Joe and Charlie Buckets, comes the climactic scene near the end of the movie--Charlie is literally the last child standing after Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Augustus Gloop and Mike Tevee had all lost any semblance of self-control.  You can see what happens here:

Now, I’d like to think I’m a good communicator. We probably all do. But I’ve learned this about myself in my 49⅝ trips around the sun on planet Earth...I struggle to tell the truth.  Now, I’m not saying that I have a lying tongue. That’s far from the truth. But I’ve realized that I have learned a terrible habit: I struggle to speak honestly about who I am and what really matters to me.  Not everyone has this problem...some have no issue letting you know exactly where they stand and what they think, but that’s not always me.

One of the deep challenges of growing deeper with God is the ability to see yourself as you really are.  And this is HARD WORK! My experience has led me to believe that it’s through the mirror of God’s Word, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the counsel of godly people that we are able to acknowledge who it is that we are and how we’ve gotten there.  Many of us don’t really want to go there because we may not like what we see. At least that’s been true in my own experience.

My particular “situation” over the years has been avoidance. Avoid confrontation. Avoid that difficult conversation. Avoid speaking up for myself just to keep the peace...avoid, Avoid, AVOID!!!

How’d that work out?  It took me more than 20 years to deal with a situation that’s gone from bad to worse.  20 years. 20 YEARS!!! Can you imagine the damage done because I couldn’t be honest with myself?  Let alone, being honest with God, asking for His help and allowing Him to influence my heart to a more godly and honest posture.  So I’m working hard on being more honest with myself and with my God. But what I’m realizing that it’s not in my own’s the work He’s doing inside of me.

Charlie Buckett had that kind of moment. A moment of honesty. A moment in which he decided to do the right thing. Did you hear what Willy Wonka says when Charlie leaves the Everlasting Gobstopper on his desk? “So shines a good deed in a weary world.” I’m not sure we ever quite get how being obedient in little things “shines in a weary world.” We live in a world that is dying for Christians to be honest...a world where Christians living in fear seem to propagate anything in order protect our values and lifestyle.

Novel idea:  Let’s live honestly acknowledging our faults and being honest with both God and men. In that way Jesus’ words in 1 Peter 2:12a come true in our lives, “Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices.” Honest to God, that’s what I aspire to...

How to Respond to Being Hurt

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You've probably been there, to the Land of Hurt.  In relationships and professionally, I've experienced pain that's rocked me to my core. One minute everything is fine and the next, the rug is pulled out. People I trusted to have my back stick a knife there. They robbed me of my peace.

The resulting feelings are anger, sadness, betrayal, confusion. How could this have happened? How did I not see this coming? When will I ever know peace again?

When this happens to us (notice I didn't say "if") we have a choice to make: we can continue to live in the anger, sadness, betrayal and confusion, or we can forgive. Recovery from being hurt starts with that simple choice, but the process is by no means simple. It requires making that choice again and again going forward, to refuse to remain stuck in the swamp of unforgiveness. We have to choose to take back our peace.

How do we get there? 

Own the pain.

Especially for us guys, this can be a difficult first step. We have to admit we've been hurt. That means admitting we're vulnerable, that we have weaknesses. And that's okay. It's the risk we take to be connected with other people. No relationship comes with an iron-clad guarantee we're not going to get hurt.

Offer forgiveness.

When possible, we need to share the pain, too. That's the first step in forgiveness, letting the person who hurt us know the kind of harm they inflicted. This isn't to make them feel bad. It's to help them understand their choices can cause pain and they can take steps not to do that again. Offering forgiveness without letting the offender know how much pain they caused is only an invitation to a devastating cycle of hurt.

Know that offering forgiveness is not a pathway to some moment of magical repentance, tears and hugs and "everything is just like it was before." The person who hurt you may not be contrite, and even if that's the case, your relationship will never be like it was before.

In the best case scenario, you can plot out a new course for a reconciled relationship. That could be even better than the one you had...but it won't be the same.

Don't be a victim.

If we're honest with ourselves, a big reason we hold on to pain and fail to seek forgiveness is we like the results of being hurt. We like the sympathy. We like living to the lowered expectations because of our "injured" status. We like the ability to hold onto our "righteous" anger because we've been hurt. 

In doing so, it may feel like we're maintaining an artificial kind of control. The reality is we're giving it the enemy.

There's nothing Satan loves more than an "injured" Christian. That person poses no threat to him. Faith is limited and so are relationships. That person has retreated into a shell. They live with continual anger and bitterness over being hurt and darn sure won't allow it to happen again.

Those are our choices. We can, like Christ, overcome the hurt, glorify God in our victory and use that experience as an avenue to reach others going through the same thing. 

Or we can hold on to the pain. We can remain weak, angry and afraid. 

You didn't choose to be hurt. Chances are you didn't deserve any of it. Neither did Jesus. He knows your pain.

Seek Him. Pray for His strength and patience. Pray for His healing. Pray for His guidance as you pursue peace with the one who hurt you. 


Posted by Chuck Chapman with
Tags: hurt, peace

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