Friday, January 15, 2010
We have talked extensively about how to reduce the pain of evil in your life. This pain is caused by the actions you take, the behavior you have been addicted to, or the patterns you simply could not conquer on your own. It is all self-inflicted pain. But there is a second kind of pain that invades your life. It is every bit as big and ugly as the pain you have struggled with from inside, but this one you have even less ability to avert. It is in fact pain caused by the actions, patterns, and behaviors of others – the second kind of pain.
Take the pain of betrayal as an example, someone betrays the love or trust you place in that person, and does something that is completely in their own self- interest, at the pure expense of your interests. It hurts. You have been wronged. The other person is clearly at fault. You may have done nothing to invite, or aggravate, or cause this betrayal to occur. But no matter what the cause, the end result is the same; you are wounded by the deeds of another.
Examine betrayal a bit closer and you see more clearly its cause and effect. In general the specific action of betrayal does not cause nearly as much pain, as the knowledge that the trust or love between you has been intentionally broken. This is the lion’s share of the pain it causes. Forethought, foreknowledge, that trust would be broken, by intention, to accomplish a betrayal for other reasons. It is the heart that is wounded most of all in these acts. It is trust and love that are the targets of betrayal much more than anything else. The master of evil would try to teach you NOT to ever love or trust again. He would have you act prudently and restrain your feelings, trust, and love next time until they can be earned. This is the common sense approach to love, as influenced by evil, and as intended by it.
Most evil and pain is targeted primarily at the human heart. It is through the human heart that evil can do the most damage to the heart of God. As His heart is directly impacted by the travails brought upon your heart. When you cry from pain, God suffers. He longed to take away your pain from the self-inflicted things that you were a victim of, now He longs no less, to remove you from the harm the evil one is sure to bring to your doorstep. Evil targets your heart, in order to shut it down. The goal of evil is to prevent you from sharing, prevent you from loving, from trusting, from giving to another. The goal of evil is to turn your heart to stone.
Pain is an excellent tool to convert flesh to stone. Repeated pain makes the process even faster, and more thorough. Betrayal sucks. It hurts to have trust sent back to you in a careless manner. It hurts to have love rejected. It hurts to find out that your real feelings of love, were only echoed in the “words” of another, while their true feelings were given to someone completely different. No one can feel good about any of this. But before the sadness can begin to cloud the judgment, look deeper at the unfortunate situation.
First, you must ask yourself the realistic question as to your own role in what transpires. Healthy relationships, between people who give 100% of themselves 100% of the time, do not suffer nearly as often from betrayal. Often there is a pain-point involved that drives a wedge between people that sometimes one person may not even be aware of. Or more often, that the offender may simply wish to deny, even exists. Nagging, hurting words, unintended disrespect, lack of attention, lack of priority – all these conditions can drive a wedge between two hearts. There is no good excuse for betrayal, but often there are reasons this condition develops. To stop this before it begins requires open, honest communication. You must get through to your partner how you feel, and how deeply you feel it.
The old adage “it takes two to tango” applies equally well to problems in romantic relationships. But there are often much larger, much more obvious impediments, hiding in plain sight that could have been accounted for. How do you structure a long term loving relationship on a foundation of sand? Or more directly, how do you build something of value between two people based on a lie? Very often men and women present themselves with one face to a perspective partner, only to find the real person quite different once in a committed relationship. This dramatic about face is almost sure to ruin what happiness there was between them, as that was built on illusion, and now must be reconstructed in full.
Another lie that causes people to build castles on the sand is one where there are more than simply 2 people in the romantic picture. You can have strong desire for more than one person at a time, but this is not love, it is merely desire. You can have strong feelings of kinship, friendship, and happiness when being with more than one person at a time, but this is not love, it is friendship. Romantic love is to result in intimacy. Intimacy requires ONLY 2 people. It is impossible to achieve consensual intimacy between more than 2 people at a time, as true intimacy is hard enough to find even between 2. To get 3 or more people to agree on anything is nearly impossible, but to agree on how to have a romantic intimate relationship is fantasyland.
So to invest yourself in a relationship designed for two, but knowingly impacting more than two, is a recipe for pain. Both kinds of pain. You cannot expect the rules that would govern a righteous relationship to apply to one knowingly based on a lie. What you can almost certainly expect is to hurt the one you claim to love. To hurt the one you claim to have stopped loving. And most certainly to hurt yourself in the process, as you find the things you believed were entirely based on lies that could not be sustained. This is a guaranteed result from pursuing relationships where there are more than 2 people involved. Those that choose this path often choose it again, and again. This means if you pursue a cheater, expect to be cheated upon. If you find yourself as the cheater, your fate may well be sealed as a cheater, until you bring it to the foot of the Cross, and surrender it there permanently. Cheating is a condition designed to rob you of your heart.
Sometimes the culprit between two people is the lack of direction, or lack of knowledge one of hem carries. It is easier to build something when you know what you want. It is much harder to build something when you truly have no idea what you want, or perhaps worse yet, no idea what you should want. In cases like these, council from the Lord should be at the top of the agenda. If the memory of a past love is clouding present judgment you should not be moving forward with someone else. Rebound relationships are not known to be lasting. You should obtain clarity based in the submission of your will, BEFORE you pursue your romantic relationships. His will is always better for you that your will. And being led is always better than taking the lead.
The real question becomes, if you can learn to surrender your will enough, and remove enough of the self-inflicted pain from your life, will it reduce the second kind of pain as well? I have to believe it will. It seems to me that by offending others less, and by avoiding situations where the outcomes are already known to be painful, you would lead a much happier life. By valuing service over self, you invest yourself far less in what you expect to get out of relationships, and realize that your investment itself is the reward of the relationship. People count. Relationships count. And when surrendered to Christ, you realize that self counts for nothing. It is through Christ alone, we can find immunity to betrayal. It is through Christ alone, that the love of our relationships can reach its full potential. It is through Christ alone that we can learn to share our hearts, share our love, share our trust and not shy away when we find it misplaced …
Posted by Kristian Nelson at 12:17 AM