Monday, May 25, 2009

Life....sometimes it just plain sucks.

I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. SO many moments where I know if I could go back and change the way I dealt with a situation, I would. Hurting people because you are hurt is just easier, it's what we do, it's a normal reaction.....but it's completely wrong (bummer).

Yesterday I had the uncomfortable pleasure of being talked to by God. Seriously. Of course he took the form of our pastor Jim and his talking was the Sunday sermon, but it was absolutely directed at me (I'm not entirely sure what the rest of those people were even doing there ;)

From Romans 12....

Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

And just to make sure I was listening, within an hour after coming home from church, we had our first test. I think I passed...but just barely. Despite having been covered in scripture to deal with the situation, I found myself once again being hurt and wanting to hurt back. I resisted the urge to throw rocks, I held my tongue when I could have criticised, but I found myself getting defensive when confronted with my past. Especially when it was a fairly inaccurate picture.

I have no trouble (well, almost) taking responsibility for what I've done. It's painful to be forced to remember unattractive behavior on my part, but it's necessary to deal with it and move on. However, I have an even harder time (ok, it's impossible) when asked to apologize or make amends for things I absolutely did not do. I am completely stumped. What is my 'Christian self' supposed to do when I'm blamed for things I DID NOT DO (that's me yelling). Do I apologize? Do I just let it go? Or do I (with voice raising) defend myself and in doing so pretty much call the other person a liar? I chose option 3 (here's where the 'just barely' comes in).

I have a sense of fair play and justice that is, at times, counterproductive. Dealing with a friend or relative who has injured you is much different than presenting a case before a jury (where I would surely win:). I need to learn to separate the two.

How important is it to be right, to be vindicated? Is peace worth sucking it up and just letting people think the worst of you (which in this case they will anyway)? Isn't doing the right thing what counts in the end? But what if you're not entirely sure what the 'right thing' is? And what if there is a third party involved, someone you love dearly who is caught in the middle?

All I have at the moment are questions, I pray I get some answers.....soon! be continued.


Jeano said...

Dear, dear Maureen, God was also talking to ME yesterday!! Jim and I struggle immensely with this! And, I like the title of this post "Life... sometimes it just plain sucks". I have even typed in the subject line of my internet search "ministry life sucks" and been amazed at the responses!
A wise counselor once said to Jim and me "do not apologize for something you did not do!". But he also hastened to add that we are (gulp) responsible for how we react to the situation (or people). And, for me, forgiveness is a daily thing in some instances. One reason I'm reading the book I am right now (the one on messy relationships) is because I really need help in this area.
Believe me, Jim was preaching to me and to himself yesterday. This was a difficult passage for him to prepare and for me to listen to.
Thanks for your honesty!! (And, we're praying for you these days with Sam leaving soon!)

Maureen said...

Thanks so much Jean. We have struggled mightily with this situation and Steve said just a few days ago that it was probably time to get some counsel from Jim. Thank-you for your wisdom and may we hold each other up in these frustrating situations.

ps. I want to do the study, when does it start?

Jeano said...

I think this is something we ALL struggle with (because we're all human). It is difficult!!
We're starting next Tuesday (June 2) and then taking a break for a few weeks while Jim and I take some time OFF. There are about 5 ladies (+ me) and now you who want to do this. I'm excited/scared about the study. I know it's something we all need!!

Nancy W. said...

Maureen, I think biblical counseling is a really good idea. Sometimes we do have to suck it up. However, Jesus did not apologize for what He did not do, but stood up for what He knew was right. Even though it did not make Him "popular" Believers will always be persecuted for doing the right thing. We do, though, have to account for even the smallest iota of what may be our part in a negative situation, no matter how mountainous the other person(s) part(s) Of course, our peace comes in turning it over to the Lord and KNOWING it is in His hands. No one loves us like He does and .."all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose."

Maureen said...

Thanks Nancy.

Julie said...

I experience the same struggle. My issue is finding the fine line between being a doormat and being assertive. Just that you're recognizing and owning the struggle and dealing with it as honestly as you know how will make you a stronger person.

Maureen said...

Thanks Julie....there is a fine line between the two and I don't always stay on my side, but at least I'm trying :)

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Maureen said...

Dear Sil,

I am truly sorry that you see me as such a vile creature and I am equally sorry that we cannot work this out. I do not now, nor have I ever, blamed you for my problems. Our offer to sit down and talk still stands.

Take care Julie.