The hurt increased until my heart pounded in my ears from the painful emotion of it all.
Words are powerful like that.
In an instant several streams of response white-water rushed and crashed through my thoughts and feelings.
I put my phone down.
I took a deep breath. I began to pray.
* * *
Hurt with the intent to hurt.
Rawness that masquerades as anger and harshness.
All these painful aspects of relating with other people that slither up and strike your heart like a venomous copperhead because you were close. You were in range.
And when someone doesn't know, or doesn't remember, the real enemy to stand firm against... another person is the usual recipient of a piercing wound.
Sometimes the person being struck is the same person doing the striking. You know how I know.
* * *
After these kinds of fangs pierce my tender heart, I have a few moments to make a crucial decision before that deceptive poison messes with my ability to function. Before it pumps through my life-blood and begins wreaking destruction.
The enemy wants me debilitated, distracted and destroyed. He wants this for you, too.
I don't know if this will help you - but this is how God keeps me on my feet, unafraid. Ready to love the next person He puts in my path - even if they treat me like the enemy.
I put Jesus' hand over my heart in prayer. I ask Him to draw out every toxic thing.
The Word is powerful like that.
In an instant streams of Living Water rush in to heal and comfort and steady me.
I ask Him to stay, remain, become again the center of my life.
If I, for one tiny-flipping-moment, let myself take center-stage of any situation(especially a conflict) -- I have already lost the fight.
It's not about me. It's not about the other person. It's not about the enemy.
This life is about Jesus.
It's about Love.
The fight is always, always about Love.
We may not realize it at the time, but wherever there is a fight - Love is always present, active, invested, fighting for us.
If Love wasn't so incredibly powerful - there would be no struggle.
We'd just all give in to the soul-sucking vortex of personally-packaged temptations to embrace and embody evil.
But the Spirit of power, love, and soundness of mind fiercely fights for us.
He wins in me first, then through me in this world.
Jesus is the only anti-toxin that cures any strike. He alone can heal anything, anyone, anytime, anywhere.
The death He has raised me from has me unshakably convinced He is unstoppable. He is the God of the book of Hosea. Redeeming Love.
It is this God that I ask to help me to refuse to be reactive in my pain. I ask Him to fight. To step onto that center-stage.
The only fights I want to run from are the fights I forget He is a part of.
When I remember He fights - I no longer want to run, or fear defeat. I want to watch Him. I want to cheer and praise as He does what only He can do. I want to witness, again and again, how His light pierces the darkness.
By His wounds we are healed.
So I ask Him: How can I embody You? What does this person need from You? If You want to bring something of You through me - I am willing! Here am I - send me!
I ask Him this while I'm simultaneously asking Him to keep healing me, and to keep giving me His love for the person.
Because without Him - I don't have love for others. Or myself.
I can beat myself up mentally in ways that might shock you. But maybe you wouldn't be too surprised, because that inner-critic(and the devil of hell) are dang loud and persistent, aren't they??
That's not the kind of teamwork I want any part of.
Jesus alone keeps me sane. Jesus alone gives me the character I need to keep getting up, keep trying again, keep loving boldly, radically, unafraid.
He always provides the strength I need. Always.
He helps me remember to pre-forgive.
I know people will wound me again. I know it. So I pre-forgive.
Pre-forgivness is how He loves us.
It's a no-matter-what-comes forgiveness. It's a choice to love anyway.
Sometimes with fresh boundaries, sometimes with open arms. It's a choice to remain open to the leading of Spirit to love wisely and well.
It's a choice that remembers that Love never fails.
That we are all, individually, loved with an everlasting love.
And when the dust is blown off the battlefield along with all the other stuff that will pass away - Love will remain.
I need to remember this in every fight, in every wound, in every relationship, in every response: The greatest of these is Love.
Lord - take over me.
I want to love like You.