Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Today my best friend slapped me."

I just love this story. I'm not sure where it comes from but I first heard it shortly after we lost Adam. How it impacted me then and what its meaning has done for me lately has left peaceful feelings on my heart. I'm blessed by its simple truths and I share it now in hopes that it will bring comforting light to those that read it.

Two friends were walking in the desert. Along the way they had an argument and one of them slapped the other in the face. The one that was slapped was deeply hurt but without saying a word, bent and wrote on the sand, “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME”.

Soon the friends came to an Oasis where they decided to take a bath. The one who had earlier been slapped got stuck in the mud and was drowning. His friend reached out to him and pulled him out thus saving his life. After he had recovered, he sought out a stone and engraved on it the following, “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND HAS SAVED MY LIFE”.

His friend asked him, “after I slapped & hurt you, you wrote on sand and now that I’ve saved your life you engrave on stone, why??” He replied, “when someone hurts us we should always write the wrong on sand where the winds of forgiveness can erase it away; but when we are blessed with goodness and kindness we must engrave this on stone where no wind can ever erase it”.

Have you ever been hurt? Maybe by a parent who didn't offer the love and affection you felt you needed. A child who disappointed you. The break-up of a relationship. A work colleague who betrayed you. A teacher who embarrassed you in front of the class. A friend who stabbed you in the back or a rumor that damaged your reputation. Or maybe it wasn't a person that hurt you but some circumstance or event that has pained you. A tragic accident, the death of a loved one, a financial crisis, losing your job or suffering a sickness.

I'm learning to except that life will have moments of pain, moments of confusion and most of life is a challenge of sorts. As long as we have breath in our bodies we are all at risk of being hurt. Weather foreseen or unexpected these hurts are real and each of us are affected with feelings of real pain.

Anger, shame, anxiety, fear, worry, sadness, your reaction to these pains may manifest themselves in a number of ways depending on where you are, who you are with and what they might say to you, good intended or not. From skepticism and suspicion, to anger and revenge, to withdrawal and depression... Pain can be both emotional and physical. I've learned there are only two ways in dealing with the hurts of my heart.

I can either... Harbor the hurt, or heal the hurt God's way. The winds of forgiveness cannot remove my hurts unless I offer them to my creator.

Internalizing these hurts, challenges and pain makes every situation weigh more. Hand over the weight to God. Do your best in keeping your heart full of peace and find comfort in knowing we are not meant to understand everything around us. Go to Him to remove the heaviness from your heart. He's given us his Son, Jesus Christ, as a tool.

To move a pile of dirt with a spoon would be painstaking but use a wheelbarrow (Jesus) and the task is bearable and rewarding.

Too often we do harbor our hurt. Not quite sure what to do, we tuck this hurt away in our souls... unaware that it has a life of its own. Be assured that God understands our initial reactions just as a loving father does when his child is injured. This is not to imply that God would ever turn a blind eye to sin, but He is well acquainted with our frailty and listens with compassion to the cry of our heart (Heb. 4:14-16).

Our prayer for this week is: Faultless Lord, enduring death for us, You have consummated the debt of our sins. Your sacrifice of forgiveness was absolute! Grant us the strength to also forgive ourselves, others, and the sins of the world. So we may truly reflect your spiritual goodness, Your love for us. Let each trespass end as a closing chapter, our continuing on the road to Your righteousness. Forgive our sins as we aspire to forgive others. You are truly the model of forgiveness. We pray this in Jesus’ name. ~Amen.


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