I spent many years giving my all to someone and sacrificed so many things – virtually everything. I truly believed I was doing God’s will, and perhaps I was. But the human heart tied to the human ego would be exposed in a very big way. If love keeps no record of wrong, my love waxed cold pretty much immediately because all I could see was how I’d been wronged. I expected to be treated so differently on the other end of giving my whole heart to another person. But when I was attacked, betrayed and made an enemy of that person, I filled up with anger and blame.
God says we’re to forgive others or we won’t be forgiven and he says there is no perfect person. On a 5 year search for forgiveness I’ve seen bitterness creep in more and more as I prayed constantly for help giving forgiveness. I have tried to read self-help books, listened to many voices in trying to get advice on how to heal and I even jumped into another relationship in hopes to find what my heart was searching for. Turns out sometimes your enemies are the ones who you thought loved you and wanted what’s best for you. Turns out our deceitful hearts, full of expectations will jump right into the fake love game, accusing and victimizing ourselves.
I have never felt so alone in my life. And it seems the people around me have fallen away like dominos as I cry myself to sleep and wake up crying even more. I’ve known the root of my problem is expectation and unforgiveness as I’ve physically felt my heart churning in sickness and hurt. But what I couldn’t see is the nature of my own heart and my own doings. I couldn’t see that the human heart hurts because it “expects” love to be returned. God’s heart however – God’s love, isn’t like that.
I imagine how Jesus must have felt as he picked disciples who he would treat like family and then traveled around helping, teaching and healing people, all the while knowing that each of these people would let him down. Could I even do that? Could I walk up to someone, love on them heal them, encourage them and feed them all the while as I traded glares, looking them in the eyes, saying to myself, “This person is going to betray me, hate me and wish me dead.”…? Cause that’s what Jesus did.
Even as he was being captured and Peter was attempting to defend him saying, “Lord I will never deny you.” Jesus responded, “Oh yes you will. In fact you’ll deny me 3 times before the clock strikes 12.” He knew the entire time exactly what would happen. He knew Judas would sell him out for money and he knew the disciples would coward away out of fear for losing their own lives and he knew the people he had loved and helped would one screaming “crucify him” in a massive crowd where not even one would have mercy or care for him as they watched him being tortured.
The Bible says that before Jesus walked into this horrific scene he was so scared his body was sweating blood. Even God in the flesh reached out to his Heavenly Father asking for the cup to be taken from him if there was a way. I guess I thought it was all about the physical hurt he would endure, but tonight I think it was more heavily weighted on the heartbreak he would endure. His human heart would have a dagger driven in it so deeply as his love was returned with hatred.
But God in the flesh didn’t defend himself or even say a word through it all. He endured it in silence and then even cried out asking his Heavenly Father to forgive the ones who were hurting him. I’ve cried out that prayer many nights asking God to forgive the ones who have hurt me. But my mind still stirs daily with trying to make sense of it all – trying to reason with a sense of logic into what caused my pain. I’ve blamed myself and blamed them – back and forth like a seesaw to the extent I’ve driving myself crazy just wanting a hint of understanding into my pain and why it all had to happen as it did.
Tonight I’m wondering if the heartbreak is two fold – partially here to humble in reminding me that all of my deeds of love weren’t actually in God’s love, because if they were I’d have not expected anything in return. If I were acting purely in God’s love from a pure heart, I’d have not wanted love in return or yearned for an apology or a change of behavior from anyone I’ve been hurt me. Secondly, I’m wondering if the purpose of this exposure and the excruciating pain I’ve walked through and continue to battle with is causing a change within me in transforming my human heart in a Godly heart – one that truly doesn’t count wrongs, expect anything in return, doesn’t boast in anything is capable of looking love in the eyes and saying with truth, “Even if this person stabs me in the back and hates me – even if this person puts me through unthinkable pain and agony, I would still treat them with the best I have to give, still love them and still help them in anyway possible.”
I don’t BELIEVE God has brought me this far just to have me crumble like a burnt piece of paper. I BELIEVE God is changing my heart – creating in me a new heart that is aligned with a kind of love that I can only vaguely grasp.
Recently, I heard a message about the Apostle Paul and what he endured when Christ became his mission – he was hated so badly by the people he’d known and loved his entire life, they actually seeked to kill him. And he was hated by the ones he thought he was to walk with also. He didn’t have a friend in the world. I try to imagine his heartbreak as I have felt this way for so long now. But on the other side of this heartbreak and loneliness, Paul was unbreakable, it seems. He even celebrated being beaten nearly to death because he knew that the action of the prison guard was placing him in position to give grace and mercy. He rejoiced in the beating because God would deliver him from that prison and when the prison guard saw it and KNEW he was of God, he wanted to kill himself – literally turned the sword on himself and Paul said, “Don’t do that, we’re still here and Christ is here too.” He gave mercy to the man who brutally beat him and even more, he wanted that man to be set free – to be saved by Jesus. Obviously Paul’s fleshly heart had been transformed into something my logic can’t begin to comprehend.