So the other day I posted this status update on my Facebook, “A relationship/friendship in which one person is doing all the giving and the other is doing all the taking isn’t a relationship, it’s a welfare program and it’s unhealthy. GET OUT!” What ensued was a long string of discussion in the form of comments with differing viewpoints; all of them valid, regarding what I had said.
When I look over my own words and the words of those who responded, there is truth in all of it. But I also noticed that there were two common threads in the words of almost every one of us who spoke up.
In all honesty, sometimes I find that
my longing to be loved,
to be in community and relationship with others;
is at war with the wounds and hurt from my past.
Relationships gone bad, misunderstandings, betrayal & rejection have left their scars on my heart. And the walls I have built around myself often do their job well to see to it that no one else ever gets close enough to wound my heart again.
You see, every story has two sides, and I have to look at my own reflection in the mirror and admit that sometimes I am the one that has left the scars. And so in my mind, I give these walls permission to stay to also help ensure that I don’t ever get close enough to hurt anyone else again as well.
I think we’d all agree that relationships of all types are complicated and can get a little messy sometimes. Even the best of friends, family and those who legitimately love each other deeply, aren’t immune to the struggle that follows when our hearts are at war with our hurt and longing.
And while I do believe that clear boundaries must be set for the protection everyone, and there are times in which it IS best to walk away and be wise enough to realize when a person’s season in your life has to come to an end – I also believe that too often we allow our hurt, and our need to protect our heart (and sometimes our image) to win out over the longing
and we walk away.
Convincing ourselves that it’s best, it’s safer to give so little of our ourselves and our hearts away that it won’t matter if things just don’t work out in relationships
And people, relationships, friends, even spouses
become disposable commodities.
All so that we can protect our heart from the hurt we never wanted to feel again. And it works! Those kinds of walls DO keep hurt away.
But they also shut love and the potential for rich, life-giving relationships, out. And we find ourselves wondering why we feel so alone and how we got from where we were, to where we are.
But where is Jesus in all of this?
I have to go back to what I KNOW to be truth. And what I know is this:
He embraced me KNOWING I would walk away.
He accepted me back and forgave me knowing it wouldn’t be the last time I’d sell Him out and make a mockery of His grace.
He loved me with abandon, all the while knowing I would break His heart and He would feel the pain of my rejection.
And yet He gave me, He STILL gives me… ALL of who He is. ALL of His heart, his affection and the grace He died to freely give away. His love never fails, and it has never run out on me.
So why does my love fail others so often? Why does it run out when someone dissappoints me and falls short of meeting the demands of my heart?
Through all of our scars, the longing still remains. And it will never go away, because we’ve been created for love. But I find it so odd that the same heart that desperately thirsts for love and relationship, is the same heart that shuts it out.
As long as we live in these fleshly bodies, our hurt and our longing will always be at war with one another. But the longing must win over. Because while the hurt may cause our heart to feel the need to build walls around itself to shut pain out, our longings remind us
we were made for God
we were for each other
we were made for love
And love must win because what else is there worth living for?