Thursday, June 30, 2011
Family: Sometimes They Hurt You
Maybe it isn't so much that I've not known it, but I haven't wanted to admit it. Admitting it means I may have to take steps to do something about it and that's what I truly was trying to avoid admitting in the first place.
Family comes in many packages. There are the blood relatives, and then there are family groups that originate outside of genealogy, like church family and friends who are like family. Writing groups and play groups. Work groups and neighborhood groups. In all these examples of family, one thing is certain: one or more of the members of the family groups are going to do something that will hurt me.
My reaction to that hurt is what is important. Here are three ways I can see myself reacting:
1. I can curl up and try to stop breathing. Not very likely as my body will not let that happen. My autonomic nervous system will kick in and make me breathe. Whether I want to or not. Probably a good design on God's part.
2. I can lash out with the same kind of anger and retaliation which was directed at me. Somewhat likely...if I can remember the next day what caused such hurt. I have a tendency to forget things like that rather quickly anymore because my menopause brain just doesn't hang on as strongly as it once did to things that happened yesterday. But those little "forgotten" hurts tend to pile up and can come crashing down to cause damage through repressed resentment and anger.
3. I can freeze the hurter out of my life. Very likely. This is my nature. I have a weird little gauge inside me that tips the scales to the had-enough side of my brain, and once it is tipped, there is no going back. It is amazing how long it takes me to reach that point, but once I have, it is equally amazing how easily I can hit the eject button on a person and forget they ever lived.
I don't recommend any of the above reactions. None of them are healthy and none of them reflect Christ. So what does Christ say about those who hurt us? Simple. We must forgive them:
"In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part.
I notice that He doesn't say we have to be with them all the time, especially if it's someone who habitually hurts us, but we do have to forgive.
I've discovered that if I try to view my offenders as they were as children or as hurting souls the way God sees them, it's easier for me to forgive them.