I am very close to someone. I care about them more than anything and do what I can to serve them in sacrificial love. Not necessarily a spouse, but certainly a very close and dear friend. I confide in this person and they confide in me.
And then, one day, I learn that the trust we shared has been broken. This person has been taking my information and using it behind my back to mock me or to damage my reputation.
What am I going to do about it?! This is totally uncalled for, I have done everything for this person! I've served them and they turn around and stick a knife in my back! This is not fair! I shouldn't have to put up with this!
*Deep Breath* Well, maybe this was a one time sin.... Yeah, that's it. I can forgive and forget! Life returns to its placid state.
And it happens again!
Let us say, for the sake of shortening our words, that this cycle happens many times over several years until....
I just don't care anymore. I don't want to love that person anymore.
All right, story time is over. I think, in all honesty, this has happened to a lot of us. We've been betrayed by someone we love. How are you supposed to respond to this? Even when the offense has only happened once, not multiple times, how are we supposed to respond? To be completely honest, I am dealing with something like this right now, as well as watching a conflict like this develop and simmer for several months (years, really). How are we all to respond as Christians?
Someone whom I greatly trust gave this advice: apply 1 Corinthians 13. Isn't it great when God gives us very specific instructions on how to act?
Yeah, well I want to see anyone who can completely apply that passage! "Believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things"... Love is really hard! Love is not "when I feel like it" or "when they are always acting in a loving manner towards me" Did you know that we are supposed to even supposed to treat people this way when they are our enemies?! (Matthew 5:43-44)
So, the Bible really is pretty intense on this issue of what true love is. Let's just look at 1 Corinthians 13 in parts:
- Suffereth Long - that means to suffer for a long time (i. e. you don't have a "last straw")
- Is Kind - We went over this in Sunday School today. Kindness is doing something for someone because you care about, whether you want to do it or not
- Envieth Not - You are not jealous of what the other person has that you don't (be it possessions, popularity, or personality)
- Vaunteth Not Itself - Basically it means that your goal is not to be lifted up or promoted by the object of your love. Your goal is actually to lift the other person up.
- Is Not Puffed Up - Don't be proud in a self-glorifying manner. (See the whole book of proverbs)
- Doth Not Behave Itself Unseemly - It knows where the boundaries are and stays well within them
- Seeketh Not Her Own - Look out for the other person, let God worry about Who is taking care of you
- Is Not Easily Provoked - Don't let your buttons get pushed (see "suffereth long")
- Thinketh No Evil - This is a hard one: don't assume that the person who is doing you wrong is actually being malicious. This is a really hard one. Personally, I love to talk issues out - to think out loud. Sometimes I want to have someone with a listening ear. That may be all that the issue is about. True, the other person may be lacking discernment as to who they are confiding in, but we are talking about your response, not their actions.
- Rejoiceth Not In Iniquity, But Rejoiceth In Truth - Don't silently gloat when the other person is falling on their face in sin! Just because you have an issue with them does not mean that the more they stumble the better because that might mean that they will finally get right with God - and you. Anyone who has struggled with sin can tell you that one sin leads to another which leads to another... and the more sin the harder it is to get it all right and taken care of. We should rejoice when we see them doing the right thing! That shows a tenderness towards God and perhaps a leading to restitution
- Beareth All Things - Carry the other person's burdens
- Believeth All Things - When they tell you that they are sorry... believe them
- Hopeth All Things - An old saying is "while there is life, there is hope". It is ok to hope for a restoration!
- Endureth All Things - No matter what happens... you will always still love this person. Period.
Please do not merely change your actions without making a verbal acknowledgment of your wrong! This is very important. When you do not admit your wrong, the other person will not see their need to admit their wrong. You are also dancing on the edge of pride, since you do not see the need to "go to thy brother" (Matthew 5:24) and humble yourself.
Please do not leave this website without reading two other posts of mine, if you have not already done so: Mirror Image and Soul Piercing. Please note, I am not writing to someone else, I am writing this to YOU.
Because of Him,